MEET OUR ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE: MAMA CAUGHT FIRE
We are Mama Caught Fire, a vocal trio based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The three of us met as students at Macalester College and began singing together almost four years ago, when we realized our shared interest in folk music. We got our start by covering some of our favorite female musicians’ songs, including The Staves’ Winter Trees, Holly Near’s Mountain Song, and Patty Griffin’s Cold As It Gets. We would gather in the campus Veggie Co-op on Wednesday nights, drink whiskey, and revel in the healing power of singing harmony. Amidst the stress of academic work and being away from our respective homes for the first time, music became our haven.
Eventually, we started to share original songs with each other, revealing personal stories of losing loved ones, leaving a toxic church, and longing for the familiar landscape of home. Our original music has come to explore some of our more collective experiences as well, such as the mother-daughter relationship and finding peace amidst political turmoil.
We now perform regularly in music venues around the Twin Cities and beyond, and enjoy connecting with other artists and musicians. We’re grateful for the support and openness in the Twin Cities, as it reminds us of why we sing and share music in the first place: art has the power to bring people together.
We are drawn to Loam because of its dedication to using goodness and creativity as tools to achieve change. Along the same lines, we use music to bring attention to the causes we care about. Whether singing for a benefit show, writing songs about resilience, or gathering friends and musicians in our backyard to celebrate the solstice, we use music to make a stance in a turbulent political current and to give back to our community.
To wrap our minds around this project, we set off for Ohio to hole up in a cabin on Molly’s family farm in the foothills of the Appalachians. We spent a week writing songs in the humidity, listening to the night, riding horses, and cooking good food together. This was the first time we had created music so collaboratively. While we have always contributed harmonies to one another’s songs or given suggestions for arrangements, each of us typically comes to the group with a melody and song structure that we’ve thought of on our own. For this project, we sat down and wrote lyrics together, word by word. We improvised melodies and played around with chord progressions as a group. To us, this process mimics the communal efforts that we must take to tackle climate change. Each of us had to bring our unhindered creativity to the group, without fear of judgement. We had to share our opinions boldly, while learning to listen and compromise.
Over the course of this month, we will share four original songs with you. Our writing will elaborate on the stories behind the music, and our videos will offer a window into our live performances and our trip to Ohio.
We are eager for this opportunity to explore our environmental voices. And we are grateful for this space to reflect on the landscapes of our homes, sustainable solutions to climate change, and our shared responsibility to care for this planet.
Molly, Julia, and Abigail