Members of Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan Jaylynn Martin, Jordan Bennett, Keegan Kanan, Arturo Rodriguez and Colin Rose watch Arias Hoyle explain the meaning behind the song and music video “Spirit” Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Members of Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan Jaylynn Martin, Jordan Bennett, Keegan Kanan, Arturo Rodriguez and Colin Rose watch Arias Hoyle explain the meaning behind the song and music video “Spirit” Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Watch: Youth group debuts Tlingit-language music video

Song and video pay tribute to ancestors and culture

A new music video pays homage to traditional values and older ancestors.

Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan (IAK), a youth arts group, debuted a new music video for the nearly all-Tlingit-language song “Spirit” Saturday evening at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.

“It’s about our ancestors whose names we carry,” said Will Kronick, adviser to the group that formed as part of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Native Connections program in 2018, to introduce the video.

The making of the music video was supported by Tlingit & Haida through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Native Connections grant, Kronick said. The Native Connections program offers a space for youths to develop culturally based social, emotional, mental and emotional skills. The video will be uploaded to the Tlingit & Haida YouTube channel.

Arias Hoyle, whom IAK members credited as the principal songwriter, said “Spirit” was specifically written about one of his great-great uncles, Yaw Du Néi, from whom Hoyle takes his Tlingit name.

“He was one of the fluent Tlingit speakers,” Hoyle said in an interview at the release party. “The song is me saying I am not fluent, but you will accept that and carry on the name.”

In “Spirit,” which is IAK’s third video, shadow silhouettes of Hoyle and his namesake exchange verses to that effect in Lingít, the Tlingit language.

The video, which was shot in Juneau, was a six-month effort, group members said.

In addition to Hoyle, the IAK features Jaylynn Martin, Keegan Kanan, Colin Rose, Sierra Guerrero-Flores, Kendra Parks, Kenndra “Kenndra Lamar” Willard, Arturo Rodriguez, Aidan Wilson and Jordan Bennett. Chris Talley provided lead backing vocals for “Spirit” and technical support came from Joshua Laboca with Second2NoneSound.

Rodriguez said at one point, there was a plan for each member to try to contribute some additional lines to the rap, but there was a deference for Hoyle, who will be leaving Juneau to attend college at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle later this month.

Members of Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan look up at the red-tinted face of Arias Hoyle while watching the music video for the song “Spirit” at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Members of Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan look up at the red-tinted face of Arias Hoyle while watching the music video for the song “Spirit” at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Each year, new youths join IAK, and Willard was credited with an influx of young women who contributed to the project.

“I was the only girl out of like eight boys, and I felt like bringing in more girls for it,” Willard said.

So she recruited her cousin, Martin, and friend, Guerrero-Flores.

“It was fun making the music video,” Martin said.

And it won’t be the last one IAK makes.

“We are planning another video,” Martin said during a short question-and-answer segment with the couple dozen or so people in attendance. “There is another video coming eventually.”


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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