Fast-rising Portland songwriter with indigenous heritage and brilliant new Saddle Creek Records LP
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Amenta Abioto, KP + Amenta
3939 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR, 97227
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Black Belt Eagle Scout
BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT
“Having this identity—radical indigenous queer feminist—keeps me going. My music and my identity come from the same foundation of being a Native woman.”
Katherine Paul is Black Belt Eagle Scout, and after releasing an EP in 2014 Paul has wrapped up the band’s first full-length. Recorded in the middle of winter near her hometown in Northwest Washington, the landscape’s eerie beauty and Paul’s connection to it are palpable on Mother of My Children. Stemming from this place, the album traces the full spectrum of confronting buried feelings and the loss of what life was supposed to look like.
Paul grew up in a small Indian reservation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, surrounded by family focused on native drumming, singing, and arts. “Indigenous music is the foundation for all of my music,” Paul explains. From an early age, Paul was singing and dancing at powwows with one of her strongest memories at her family’s own powwow, called the All My Relations Powwow. Paul reminisces, “When I was younger, my only form of music was through the songs my ancestors taught the generations of my family. Singing in our language is a spiritual process and it carries on through me in how I create music today.”
With the support of her family and a handful of bootleg Hole and Nirvana VHS tapes, Paul taught herself how to play guitar and drums as a teenager. In 2007, Paul moved to Portland, OR, to attend college and get involved with the Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls. Inspired by Riot Grrrl and Post-Rock bands like Sleater-Kinney and Do Make Say Think, Paul dove deep into the Portland music scene, playing guitar and drums in a bunch of bands while evolving her artistry into what would later be Black Belt Eagle Scout.
On Mother of My Children, the songs weave together to capture both the enduring and fleeting experiences of loss, frustration, and dreaming. The structures are traditional, but the lyrics don’t adhere to any format other than what feels right in the moment. “I don’t play music to write songs,” Paul explains, “I play music to process feelings, and sometimes what comes out of that is a song.” Paired with Paul’s clear and measured voice, each song leaves the listener feeling as if they were there when the song was written, the immediate, candid emotion tangible.
The album begins with the singles “Soft Stud” and “Indians Never Die.” Paul calls “Soft Stud” her “queer anthem,” saying that it is “about the hardships of queer desire within an open relationship, which I think a lot of the queer community can relate to.” The choruses in the song start soft with lyrics, “need you, want you, I know you’re taken” and develop into louder choruses and heavy guitar solos.
When reflecting more on her writing process, Paul admits “I wrote this album in the fall of 2016 after two pretty big losses in my life. My mentor, Geneviève Castrée, had just died from pancreatic cancer and the relationship I had with the first women I loved had drastically lessened and changed.” Heavy and heartbroken, Paul found respite from the weight of such loss in the creation of these songs that “are about grief and love for people,” she says, “but also about being a native person in what is the United States today.”
As Standing Rock was happening, many people in Paul’s life were coming together and fighting for the most basic thing necessary to sustain human life: water. “Our treaty rights weren’t being honored,” Paul laments, “Imagine hearing on the news that the government doesn’t support you as a human being and never has.” Paul goes on stating, “’Indians Never Die’ is a call out to colonizers and those who don’t respect the Earth; they don’t care about the water, they don’t care about how they are destroying what is around them. Indigenous people are the protectors of this land. Indians never die because this is our land that we will forever protect in the present and the afterlife.”
The album in itself is sprinkled with guitar solos, some heavy and some woven hooks. “Just Lie Down” starts with a heavy nature of distorted feedback and wild drums that sound like violent waves on a rainy coastal night. The song embodies what anger looks like when mixed with sadness. Lyrics like, “You aren’t yourself, what’s wrong, it’s in your head, it’s in your heart” are what Paul calls, “a point in grief where you don’t feel at all like yourself and you wonder if you’re going mad. The stage of grief and sadness that turns to anger, while it is a terrible thing, can also bring out a sense of relief that the process is coming to a healing point soon.”
Mother of My Children is a life chapter gently preserved, and the access listeners have to such vulnerability feels special and generous. We are left wanting more, and all signs point to Black Belt Eagle Scout just getting started.
Songwriter, producer, and actor, Amenta Abioto is on the cutting edge of all that is musical, theatrical, and literary. Her music is boldly mystical and soul-fired, and her raw live performances invoke elements of both theatrical surprise and magic through ancient African diasporic sounds and stories. Weaved into syncopated rhythms and dichotomies of comedic proportions, Amenta surprises and tantalizes audiences with mind bending ideas. She brings to the music scene funky academia while skipping vocally from soul shaking gospel to smooth jazz and then onto hip hop rhythms wrapped in West African beats.
Graduating from Idllywild Art’s Academy in 2010, she trained in musical theatre. Since graduating she has courted the music scene and produced one self-titled EP, Amenta Abioto , and one upcoming album, Opening Flower Hymns. Receiving inspiration from the best-seller work Women Who Run With the Wolves, mythological characterization and cultural stories are reflected in the original works of Amenta Abioto.
Boldly striking in appearance, Amenta brings beauty, charm, and creativity to any stage as an ode to funk. She grabs the audience and they become her musical composition. It is like swimming in an ocean full of dolphins while shouting in a Baptist church. Amenta is a storyteller’s teller, a fantastical north STAR, a High Priestess.
KP + Amenta
Katherine Paul creates heavy, yet ethereal and intricate melodies with her guitar. She’s a multi instrumentalist and producer in her own right. Inspired by growing up in the Pacific Northwest, she performs under the moniker Black Belt Eagle Scout and sings breathtaking songs about the Indigenous experience. Amenta Abioto is a fire as f**k solo artist, singer, and producer. Her performances consist of arranging through live looping, beat making, oral effects, and self harmonizing before adding a mesmerizing vocal melody to top it off. As composers, both artists bring an energy to the Portland music scene that is hard to beat and their collaboration below is a testament to that. This song was improvised and there was no prior rehearsal.
$10 ADV / $12 DOS
Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seating