February 18, 2021
Up next for ArtStarts on Saturdays is Kung Jaadee, a professional storyteller, educator and published author belonging to the X̱aayda (Haida), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Through her performance on February 27, she will share oral storytelling of the famous Haida legend, Raven's Feast, along with some traditional Raven songs sung in the Haida language, X̱aad Kil with her drum.
Kung Jaadee will also teach everyone watching online about her regalia, culture, traditions, and history in many unique ways, including drum, rattle, dance, songs, and a Q&A to enhance her stories and teaching of X_aad Kil.
In this interview, Kung Jaadee shares her wisdom and discusses the changes in her practice from when she started and with COVID-19, as well as insight on her work as an artist!
ArtStarts: How would you describe your artistic practice to someone who is unfamiliar with your work?
Kung Jaadee: I’m a traditional storyteller who is Haida and Squamish. This is my 28th year of telling stories. I perform traditional legends and some personal stories. I share some history, and I sing and drum traditional songs. I also use my traditional clothing, or regalia when I perform!
AS: Has your creative practice had a clear direction since you started, or has it gradually evolved to what it is now?
K: My storytelling journey has been slow to start, as I barely knew any stories in the beginning. I didn’t know any songs as well. I mainly visited classrooms in my childrens’ school.
AS: As a published author, are there any specific ways you deal with creative blocks?
K: I haven’t figured out the writer’s block yet. I have had it since the pandemic started, and I’ve started writing pieces that I’ve not finished. I recently learned that some people try meditation to help free their minds from writer’s block and also from stress and anxiety.
AS: Do you think your approach to storytelling has changed due to COVID-19 or has your approach remained relatively the same?
K: Yes, the pandemic has changed how I conduct my storytelling work completely! I can’t perform live anymore, and all my work is on videos now. Schools are licensing my videos and then booking me to do a question and answer session on Zoom with them. It’s really different, and I’m grateful I can continue to work in this way.
AS: How do you hope your performance and your message of loving oneself and others impacts viewers?
K: I am wishing viewers will realize they have tens of thousands of ancestors who love them no matter what and they will always love them. I’m wishing to inspire viewers to also remember their tens of thousands of ancestors and hug themselves and tell themselves, “I love me,” everyday and for the rest of their lives. Our world needs more love everyday and forever, and I believe this is how we put more love into it!
Don’t miss out on ArtStarts on Saturdays: Raven’s Feast Story & Songs on Saturday, February 27 by finding your way to the ArtStarts Facebook page for Kung Jaadee’s vibrant performance!
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