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Black Belt Eagle Scout (Saddle Creek)

In the midst of our collective pause, Katherine Paul, who performs under the moniker Black Belt Eagle Scout, felt a strong pull led by dreams of an ancestral homeland. Following those dreams led her from her adoptive home of Portland, OR back to the Skagit River and the adjoining land and waters of Western Washington that make up the Swinomish, a place where she was finally home. Paul’s reconnection to her ancestors through this natural motherland nourishes her work and the resulting The Land, The Water, The Sky is her story of return and a reestablishment to the natural connection between the elements and her lineage.

Paul draws upon the teachings of her people, the Swinomish/Iñupiaq, reflecting these stories through her personal musical history deeply informed not just by the music of the Coast Salish people, but her own childhood in Washington acutely influenced by the music of her youth - local bands like Hole and Nirvana. Sonically, the record is hauntingly beautiful, and Paul expresses a great power through her ethereal whisper, and songs of few verses are carried effortlessly upon hypnotic, muted guitars. No words wasted, Paul shares stories tied to her connection to nature, Innuit mythology, and the love she holds in the present for those around her and all that came before. “My Blood Runs Through This Land” sets the tone at the outset, and we journey easily through Paul’s convictions until we get to the heart of “Don’t Give Up” when Paul proclaims “You hear your heart beating, You walk under the trees, Engulfed by beauty, I just hold you here with me,” and we join her in knowing “The land, the water, the sky.”

Sharing in on the journey with Black Belt Eagle Scout are listeners of WFPK, Indie 102.3, KEXP, KTBG, and more, and Paul leaves this week on extensive tours of Europe and the U.S. stretching through the Spring.


Photo by Nate Lemuel

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