Canadian folk duo Mama’s Broke have spent the past eight years in a near-constant state of transience, pounding the transatlantic tour trail. They’ve brought their dark, fiery folk-without-borders sound to major festivals and DIY punk houses alike, absorbing traditions from their maritime home in Eastern Canada all the way to Ireland and Indonesia. Nowhere is the duo’s art-in-motion approach more apparent than on their long-awaited sophomore record Narrow Line (out Friday on Free Dirt Records); it’s the sound of nowhere in particular, yet woven with a rich synthesis of influences that knows no borders. Today, Mama’s Broke has dropped the video for their single coming off Narrow Line “How It Ends.”
“The concept of this video came about while talking with filmmaking friends of ours about love and relationships, and how it’s sort of an audition process or awkward group dance that so often ends disappointingly. We ran with the concept and worked with Phyllis Rising Productions in Halifax, Nova Scotia to bring it to life over two days in October 2021. We cast our local friends, used clothes from local fashion designers, and hired local choreographer Mary Lou Martin to help us with the dances,” Mama’s Broke says.
The eleven songs on Narrow Line burrow deeply, with close harmony duets, commanding vocals, and poignant contemplations on cycles of life, including birth and death. Tinges of Americana stand side-by-side with the ghosts of Eastern European fiddle tunes and ancient a cappella ballad singing, melding into an unusually accessible dark-folk sound. A careful listen of Narrow Line invokes an ephemeral sense of place—whether real or imagined—inviting us to take comfort in the infinite possibilities of life, whether or not we ever choose to settle down.
In a world driven by fear, Mama’s Broke has come to embrace uncertainty, knowing that while fear is a terrible force, it can also drive us forward towards better times. “The fear of the unknown is the biggest thing,” Amy says. “It can be overwhelming to have so many potential paths at a given time. Taking comfort in the infinite possibilities of life is a necessary faith for the rootless person or traveler, whether they choose to settle down or not.” On Narrow Line, the duo makes a compelling case for rushing into the unknown, for finding a new community in the whirlwind of travel and change.
Photo Courtesy: Blanca Chavez