THE NAPOLEON COLLECTIVE
“With some family bands, you get a creamy blend of harmonized voices. With the Napoleon Collective you get the three distinct voices of Papa Art Napoleon and his daughters Niska and Quanah, each sharing lead vocals and supporting one another on harmonies and background vocals. The multi-textured vocals on their new EP sound much like a compilation of bright and varied sixties pop and blues singles.
“Again” yearns to be a hit pop single while the grungy “Purple Mountains” is reminiscent of the message folk rock tunes of the 60s, poetically taking the listener back to native lands and residential schools of a century or more ago.
A good time 60s R&B vibe complete with BGs and a chorus of hand-clappers inspires and energizes “Never Let You Go” while the mid-tempo “No For An Answer” slows down nicely with a juicy retro organ and swaying guitar riffs.
“Next Distraction” kicks in with a reggae beat, bluesy vocal melody and a guitar solo that sounds like Santana on a surf board. “Creeland Blues” is a tribal-sounding blues scorcher with gravelly, robust vocals and trance-like chanting supported by wicked guitar riffs and an orchestra of percussion.
Produced by Art Napoleon and recorded at Woodshop Studios on Vancouver Island, the songs are well played and never too heavy, letting you hear the distinct individual voices of this talented family trio.”
A Soulful Retro Family Band
The Napoleons are no Brady Bunch. They are a highly unconventional family, leaning more towards the Addams family than the Dick & Jane variety. What they lack in white picket fences, they make up for in soul and character, and this is clearly reflected in their music.
The three primary members of The Collective are as dramatically different as the bonds that unify them. The sound that unites them is passionate, blues-soaked roots rock with shades of retro R&B. Distinct family harmonies and tribal grooves thread their songs together in a funky package.
Art Napoleon is the grizzled “elder” of the clan and a veteran of the Canadian festival and underground music scenes. Influenced by artists such as Tom Waits, Neil Young, The Black Keys & Buffy St. Marie, he is the main songwriter and producer of The Collective.
Niska Napoleon is the quiet daughter who transforms on stage like an ancient shape-shifter. She is also a songwriter & vocalist who has toured Canada and played internationally with a variety of groups including Iskwew and the Victoria based reggae-rock band, Rocky Mountain Rebel Music. Some of Niska’s influences include Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, The Cliks, and Justin Nozuka. Her vocals can transform instantly from sweet & sensitive to a growly, rocking raunch. Niska’s own original music is becoming a force.
Quanah Style is the spunk and moxy of The Collective. She is also known as the party guru of the Vancouver LGBTQ community. While she is new to songwriting and recording, her over-the-top personality, dramatic flair, and sense of adventure combine to ensure a memorable live performance. Quanah’s retro voice is reminiscent of early R&B and Motown artists like Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. She has collaborated with many Vancouver artists on electronic dance music and is now ready for the family band experience.
The Collective are joined at times by cousins and backing vocalists Naomi & Juritha Owens, who are both former fancy dancers and traditional ceremonial singers.
All members of The Collective are from the East Moberly “Indian Reserve” in Northeastern BC. They are proudly bi-cultural and remain deeply connected to their Cree and Dene roots.
The Napoleons have tasted life’s tougher side but they are a resilient crew that draws on the strength of their tribal teachings. Papa has long since been to rehab for mental health issues and no longer dates his parole officers. The girls still don’t drive cars or have regular jobs but the family has learned to channel their demons into gritty guitar riffs and melodic vocals. The music is energetic & primal; retro yet refreshing. Luckily for them (and everyone else), music is the family’s favorite form of therapy and continues to strengthen their bond. It is this musical platform that allows them to feel more like a regular family than ever before.
No, The Napoleon Collective are not the Bradys…but they are the real deal. They are the new victory song coming from the depths of rez hinterlands in both urban centres and rural backroads. It’s a funky and groovy new tribal beat that pulls people of all ages and races onto the dance floor.