The Unsustainable Sessions

by Klee Benally

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about

Klee Benally’s new acoustic album, “The Unsustainable Sessions” features twelve searing acoustic songs that dig deep into contemporary Indigenous conflicts.
“So long as we’re fighting for justice, art should help move people into action. If these songs can be twelve more rocks thrown against despair, that’s what matters.” says Klee.
“The Unsustainable Sessions” was written and recorded over the summer with support from people who signed up to support Klee’s work through Patreon.

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released November 26, 2019

Dedicated to all the anti-colonial freedom fighters throughout the world.
All songs written, recorded & art by Klee.
The album was made possible with support from these awesome Patreon supporters: Mason Runs Through, Theo Koppen, Andy Wombat, Crystal Zevon, Natasha Sandy, Shea Sandy, Sumayyah Dawud, Cease Wyss, Tasheena Upshaw, & Katie Curran.

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Klee Benally Flagstaff, Arizona

Indigenous acoustic agitation for liberation.

Klee Benally is a Diné (Navajo) musician, traditional dancer, filmmaker, & Indigenous anarchist. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Klee is originally from Black Mesa and has worked most of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands.
In 1989 he co-founded the Indigenous political punk-rock group Blackfire.
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Track Name: Over the Edge/In Reverence
I'm not sure if you got my letter
I could resend it but it just said,
let’s push it over the edge, again and again…
sometimes it's best not to make plans
there’s an art to crashing in
let’s push it over the edge again

we invoke this
disavow this
pledge no allegiance

did you see the future came and went
it was everything we made it
pushed it over the edge again and again
caught up in the moment
forgot where it began
let’s push it over the edge again

we invoke this
disavow this
pledge no allegiance

actions are our prayers
when we live our lives
in reverence

(and this feels just like, coming home)

disharmonious
the discordance
in the shadow of irreverence
what else can
bring justice when
nothing will grow and
what else can
bring justice when
the bullets are lodged so deep in

we invoke this
disavow this
pledge no allegiance
actions are our prayers
when we live our lives
in reverence
Track Name: After the Fire
On the eve of rage at the edge of despair
On the backs of the bruised, we’ve been there
Will you see this through?

on the edge of this night
So sharp it cuts just like a knife
but these words aren’t just for you

why cut the hand pulling back the bow
when the arrow is not yet let go
perhaps this is bigger than you?

Behind the bars of this cage
In clenched teethe biting back our rage
When all the lies can’t hold back the truth…

On the eve of rage at the edge of despair
When we can’t wake from this nightmare
Will you see this through?

when the cameras are gone and tear gas has cleared
When you realize how it can go as quick as it appeared
Will you see this through?

When the likes and shares dwindle down
And there are less feet on the ground
Will you see this through?

when the non-profits set another course
paychecks cashed without remorse
will you see this through?

After the ashes become clouds
After the fire has burnt out
and when they desecrate these sacred grounds
Will you see this through?
FIGHT BACK!

On the eve of rage at the edge of despair
When we can’t wake from this nightmare
Will you see this through?
FIGHT BACK!
Track Name: Hands on the Barbed Wire
For those who couldn’t weather the storm, whose ghosts haunt this endless war
for those who’ve died of thirst, while they said our “profits come first.”

from the desert I heard screaming
someone struggling to overcome
it echoed from all directions, no I couldn’t tell where it came from

hands on the barbed wire, under constant attack
cutting through the fences, nothing holding us back

we’ve always moved along these paths
before these lines were drawn, carving up the land
now it only matters what side you are on

hands on the barbed wire, under constant attack
cutting through the fences, nothing holding us back

for all the children held in cages
for all those striking at the root of this pain and
all those fighting against this order
our rage knows no borders

hands on the barbed wire, under constant attack
cutting through the fences, nothing holding us back

from the mountains, i could see it starting
it was a moment, a movement unsaid
so quickly in all directions, it was one fire than it spread

hands on the barbed wire, under constant attack
cutting through the fences, nothing holding us back
Track Name: When Banners Become Shields
in these moments, catching our breath
counting scars

how many more days will you endure?
until it breaks you
how many more ways will you look for
a gentler chain to hold you?

in these moments, catching our breath
counting scars

we don’t rely on feeding hands
we cut them
boots on our neck have feet
so we break them
we’ll keep pushing
we’ll keep pushing
until it breaks

in these moments, catching our breath
counting scars

vinegar soaked bandanas
liquid antacid and water
when banners become shields
and the night our accomplice
we’ll keep pushing
we’ll keep pushing
until it breaks

- end -
Track Name: Blood In My Eyes
if this is the season to harvest
we harvest what we have grown
our teethe like daggers
our nails sharpened on stone

our enemies surround us
there is a symmetry in this cycle
the land and the seasons
are weapons of our survival

in this war there are more than two sides
can’t you see the the blood in my eyes?

we’ve gone to war with empty hands before
like thousands of arrows, lightening crashing down
we’ve gone to war with empty hands before
with darkness and mother earth, we stand this sacred ground…

in this war there are more than two sides
can’t you see the the blood in my eyes?
Track Name: The Unsustainable
all my rage bleeds out my throat
into rivers that used to flow
into canyons painting these deserts
so that they will grow. (once again)

is it too late
to rethink this?
on the eve of another apocalypse…
how far are will willing to go
to resist?
how far are will willing to go?

we can’t sustain, we can’t sustain
the unsustainable

are you still waiting and hoping this will all go away?
or for a better cage or more comfortable chains?
while these roots wither and they decay
well, its not broken, it’s made this way…
we can’t sustain, we can’t sustain
the unsustainable

and if the structures don’t change?
and the control remains the same?
they bring terror but they have names
so fuck your votes, your politicians, and reforms
we can’t sustain, we can’t sustain
the unsustainable

end this cycle
destroy what destroys us

we can’t sustain.
Track Name: If It Ends Tomorrow
what have you seen, that has closed your eyes?
what have you felt, that has closed your heart?
they cannot burn, those who were born in flames

if it ends tomorrow, we’ll plant our seeds today.

how far did you go, that you thought you could not come back?
it’s what they’ll reap we have sowed, when we live under constant attacks
if you try to bury us, we will grow again

if it ends tomorrow, we’ll still plant our seeds today.

in all this suffering (tear up the concrete)
in all of this pain (uproot this system)
in all of this tragedy
we never stand alone

so let’s conspire with the four winds and move in all directions
we are the contradiction come to uproot this system
and we will grow again

if it ends tomorrow, we’ll still plant our seeds today.
Track Name: She Was A Mountain
it was the words she didn’t say
she sang the sun down, everyday
into the silence, shouting
and when they came to move her
she was a mountain

It was compromise she wouldn’t make
sowing resistance, everyday
with every seed planted,
they couldn't move her
because she was a mountain

oh, Katherine get your gun
oh, Roberta sing your song
oh, Pauline cut the wire
oh, Mae start the fire

in this earth we are made
so we never really go, away
its part of us that is buried, so we always return
back to our mother earth

oh, Katherine get your gun
oh, Roberta sing your song
oh, Pauline cut the wire
oh, Alice will keep the fire
and we will keep the fire
Track Name: A.C.A.B. Round Dance Song
As we stand on the front lines, we sing all cops are bastards
who do they protect? who do they serve? all cops are bastards!

Profiling and killing our relatives, all cops are bastards
they protect corporations who destroy mother earth, all cops are bastards

ICE locks up kids in concentration camps, all cops are bastards
their laws and institutions are not our ways, all cops are bastards

We fight for a world without prisons and police, all cops are bastards!
As we stand on the front lines, we sing all colonizers are bastards!
Track Name: Holding Up The Sky
no one ever said it would be perfect

no ever said it would be without pain

it’s just the way I see you hold it against yourself

I wish I could take that all away

I wish I could take that all away



when we pressed our lips to the sunset

when I picked pieces of broken glass from your hair

we unmasked and stopped to catch our breath

and we promised we’d always be there

we promised we’d always be there



I don’t know why I hold these pictures,

like ghosts they reflect another time
when we didn’t live with second guesses

aint it tiring, holding up the sky?

aint it tiring, holding up the sky?



we fell asleep on a bed of ashes

even though our eyes burnt from the smoke

yet the solidarity of tears now flow into a river

carving it’s way home

into a river carving it’s way home



I woke up last night and couldn’t remember where I was

I couldn’t shake the feeling off

like a bomb had dropped and a million voices ended

sometimes sleep is pointed like a gun to my head

sometimes sleep is pointed like a gun to my head



oh tonight aren’t you restless?

are you ready to choose a side?

pushing against these walls ‘till they fall

aint it tiring, holding up the sky?


No one ever said it would be perfect

no ever said it would be without pain

it’s just the way I see you holding it against yourself

I wish I could take that all away
i wish I could take that all away



I dreamt one day that it came crashing down

it wasn’t what we expected at all

the ending of a cycle, it was beautiful and calm

it was the calm after the fall

it was the calm after the fall



we can’t say we didn’t see it coming

the ghosts of the land they cried

someday we’ll see the stars again

till then we’ll be holding up the sky

we’ll be holding up the sky
Track Name: An Elegy for Broken Windows
I can’t imagine how exhausting it is
keeping up all your appearances
painting over the scenery
so no one will really see

those who claw their ways to the top
always concerned with a boat being rocked
with all the rules…
all while it’s sinking

the view’s so beautiful through these broken windows

As they prey on every move
to coopt and then misuse
such a clear pattern
that maintains the abuse

as you go round and round
thinking its something new to be found
so dutiful, attendant to disharmony

the view’s so beautiful through these broken windows

every piece we tear apart
and every part all used up
and then spit out…
and taken out of context

but we’ve seized all their tools
and recontexualized Audre’s quote
sharpened steel and bone, against all hope

the view’s so beautiful through these broken windows
the view’s so beautiful

oh how exhilarating it all is
keeping up with your appearances
and fucking up your scenery
so that everyone will truly see

if one broken window
could do this system in
I’d smash them all and watch it crumble from within
a hundred thousand rocks thrown against despair
shattering it all beyond repair
beyond repair

+end+
Track Name: To the Ground
I know some like to hear the same story

its so consoling while the world is burning
stories can also be seeds, planted in the ashes of ruins

and such small acts of defiance, can be a returning

oh, we’ve been here before

this world, burning, this world burning

In a forest of bones there is only one path home

leading to a grave filled with
 excuses and hesitations

so this is what is meant by “no future…”

it’s the fire fighting fire ‘till their world burns to the ground

oh, we’ve been here before

this world, burning, this world burning

with bruises and cuts 
and tear gas burning our lungs

there is something worse

there is always something worse

oh, we’ve been here before

this world, burning, this world burning

War on the palaces

Peace to the villages

Fire to the corporate offices

Freedom to the forests

War on the palaces

Harmony, hozho to the hogans!

oh, we’ve been here before

this world, burning, this world burning


so this is what is meant by “no future…”

fighting fire with fire and their world burning to the ground.
-end-

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