On a Sunday evening, Mama Caught Fire drew a crowd to Icehouse to celebrate the release of the trio’s debut album, Listen As She Speaks. Mama Caught Fire filled the evening with layered vocal harmonies, diverse arrangements, and carefully crafted folk songs about nature, family, grief, and loss.
Abigail Tuominen, Molly Sowash, and Julia Hobart met in college and soon began playing music together. After graduating, the trio was already gigging regularly around the Twin Cities, and in 2016 they released their debut self-titled EP.
Listen As She Speaks is the group’s first full-length album. The album’s songs share many similarities with the group’s earlier work, including complex, interlocking vocal arrangements, while introducing a wide range of new instrumentation. Throughout the night, Mama Caught Fire performed songs in a mix of arrangements, from a capella to full band, switching out instruments from fiddle to cajón.
In their performance, as in their music, Mama Caught Fire prioritize community. The group collaborated with Chicago-based artist Molly Costello for the artwork and merchandise for Listen As She Speaks. They also began the Solstice Series, a series of house shows that take place during each solstice and equinox to celebrate the change of the seasons alongside local musicians.
Before singing “River Song,” Molly Sowash reminded the audience of the environmental threat of the proposed replacement of the Line 3 oil pipeline in northern Minnesota and taught the crowd the lyrics to the song’s refrain.
Julia Hobart introduced “Weather This Storm” by sharing that she had written in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. “I think of it as a call to community,” she said, “of many and all kinds.”
In addition to performing songs from their new album, Mama Caught Fire added a few covers to their set, including Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping,” and the John Prine classic, “Angel From Montgomery.” The trio ended the night with a Prince cover, paying their respects to the Minneapolis legend with a rendition of “Kiss.”