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Kang & Kenney Given Genius Awards

Kang & Kenney Given Genius Awards

: Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang. Photo by David Belisle.

Kang & Kenney Given Genius Awards

: Eyvind Kang (MU ‘93) with Katie Kate (MU ‘09) at The Stranger Genius Awards; courtesy of The Stranger. Photo by Kelly O.

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The Stranger handed out awards to the area’s most influential artists; in music, one went to Cornish’s Eyvind Kang & Jessika Kenney.

The Stranger’s Genius Awards have become a local fixture — maybe more of one than the paper that has prided itself on its outlaw stance would be comfortable with. As Christopher Frizzelle has written, “We try not to take too much too seriously here at The Stranger—but our Genius Awards are different.” The awards were given in the areas of music, performance, literature and visual art at the 2013 Genius Awards celebration at the Moore Theatre in downtown Seattle. This year’s winners are alumni and faculty members at Cornish College of the Arts. .

Certified as geniuses by The Stranger were the duo of Jessika Kenney (MU ’07), who is a member of Cornish’s voice faculty specializing in Persian and Javanese vocals, and Eyvind Kang (MU ‘93), who is on the composition faculty. At the event, an alumna of Cornish, up-and-coming rapper Katie Kate (Katie Finn [MU ’09]) was also in the mix for the award. All three performed at the Moore celebration. Katie Kate “rocked the stage with a composition that involved hard-rhyming, soft-cooing, and playing the flute, demonstrating her magnificent hiphop to pop to classical range in collaboration with Seattle Rock Orchestra,” wrote The Stranger, and Kang and Kenney “gave a performance that will go down in Genius history.” Also nominated were Amy O’Neal (DA ’99) as a potential genius in performance and Matthew Offebacher (2013 Neddy at Cornish recipient) in visual art.

Jen Graves, music critic for The Stranger let her ink run purple for the winning pair’s performance, which from all accounts is the proper color for the job. “Kang and Kenney gave a performance that will go down in Genius history,” she wrote. “It was a Persian song that filled the whole body of the Moore with incantations of breath and sound, and Kang and Kenney performed it unamplified and unlit, wandering along the aisles of the theater. It felt both intimate and otherworldly, probably because this world so often fails to be intimate. These two musicians never fail to be intimate.”

Kang and Kenney, who are a married as well as a musical couple, were recently in New York, where their performances were well received by the New York Times.

Video of the Genius Awards presentation:


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