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Northwest band fuses funk and Indigenous music

Khu.éex’ reflects modern Native American culture and brings people together #k5evening

SEATTLE — The Northwest-based band Khu.éex’ is dedicated to preserving Native American language and bringing people together through music. They just released their fourth album, titled "WOOch."

“The name of the group is called Khu.éex’ which means potlatch in the Tlingit language and WOOch is a Tlingit word meaning ‘people came together,” said co-founder Preston Singletary.

“We are an indigenous-based ensemble that's very rooted in funk, jazz, rock, and everything but the kitchen sink,” guitarist Captain Raab added.

Khu.éex’ bass player Preston Singletary has been on Evening in the past — he’s also a world-famous glass artist.

“I consider myself a musician trapped inside the body of a glassblower," he said. "I do art and sculpture to make a living, I’m well known for that but my first love’s music."

Singletary had a chance meeting in 2013 with Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic — and this band that fuses funk and jazz with Native American spoken word and ceremonial regalia was born. 

Bernie Worrell and another founding band member, vocalist Clarissa Rizal died in 2016 — both from cancer.

"It was pretty devastating to lose those friends of ours who we had such a great working connection with," Singletary said. "Just a really deep friendship.”

"WOOch" was Bernie Worrell’s final studio project — that's him on the album cover. Yes, album. Khu.éex’ only records on vinyl. It’s better for storytelling.

Credit: Khu.eex
"WOOch" by Khu.e'ex'.

“Vinyl survives better than tapes, vinyl’s better than CDs. Hard drives crash. Spotify will crash," Captain Raab said. “A lot of this project, we want to reflect what’s going on in the Native community right now, in 2022, these records can be things people pick up and see what’s going on right now.”

Khu.éex’ will keep playing, keeping the guidance and spirit of their departed members with them. The band has a fifth album in the works and plans to keep making music that defies genres — and brings people together.

“It is a sharing of culture, songs, stories dances," Singletary said. "This is a passion project for all of us.”

You can find all of Khu.éex’s albums here

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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