Kim Moberg

REVIEW: Kim Moberg “The Seven Fires Prophecy: Suite for Humanity”


Kim Moberg – The Seven Fires Prophecy: Suite for Humanity

Turtle Island is another name – the original name, actually – for the North American continent. It comes from a Native creation story on how the landmass formed, and it’s just one scrap of knowledge that I took away from Kim Moberg’s latest album, The Seven Fires Prophecy: Suite for Humanity. Moberg, an Alaska native now based in Cape Cod, dives into her Tlingit ancestry and the Anishinaabe legend of seven fires representing knowledge and the passing of time, leading us to where we (both Native and non-Native) find ourselves today, as well as Moberg’s own take on where we go next. It’s heavy stuff, but it’s also a much-needed look beyond our own traditional, stale history books, and it’s enhanced by a beautiful soundscape created with Moberg’s longtime producer, Jon Evans.

The Seven Fires Prophecy begins with, well, the first prophecy. “The First Fire: Exodus,” with Moberg’s acoustic guitar in the forefront and Evans’ electric painting a backdrop, details the beginning of the uprooting that will take place among the peaceful inhabitants of a corner of Turtle Island – “Rise up hear the call/Our nation vast must leave this home/To travel far as been foretold” (and, for those of us who pay attention to true history, what sounds like an exciting new adventure is overshadowed by a future we already know).

Moberg moves through the the Second and Third Fires (“Lost” and “The River), which are characterized by a nomadic existence that begins to feel like a way of life – “River knows the way to go/River’s gonna bring us home” – before her suite catches up to the history we were taught in school (albeit, not at all accurately). “The Fourth Fire: Two Faces,” full of foreboding guitar and organ from Evans, introduces Europeans – “Look for the light skinned” – not as a monolithic danger, but worthy of caution and capable of death – “One brings destruction/The other growth and change.” “The Fifth Fire: The Promise” is a purposely misnamed indicator of how little growth and change occurred. Evans pulls out a kubing (a Filipino jaw harp) to back a story that Moberg says was prompted by the cruel, culture-robbing “boarding schools” found around the US and Canada – “Short hair new name/Burdens of shame.” Moberg tosses in the barbed phrase “Crucified culture,” indicating that, even though she neither shouts nor screams, both her anger and her sorrow run deep.

The Seven Fires Prophecy runs through the Sixth Fire (“The Cup of Life”) and an instrumental reprise before arriving at the present. “The Seventh Fire: The Crossroad ” asks us all – indigenous, European, and anyone else living on Turtle Island – to assess the damage done – “The Seventh Flame is nigh/Pay attention to the cost” – and seek healing through unity. Moberg actually possesses enough optimism to fuel an Eighth Fire of her own making. “Wings of the Winds,” a gentle tune characterized by Moberg’s acoustic guitar and strings arranged by Evans, imagines a world where that unity happens – “To an open heart/The prophecy/Is fulfilled.” I don’t know that I share her positivity, but considering what her ancestors endured, if she can carry that hope for us, it’s worth giving her a listen.

Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: This Suite for Humanity, by its very nature, deserves to be heard in full. I hope to have the chance sometime.

The Seven Fires Prophecy: Suite for Humanity was produced, engineered and mixed by Jon Evans and mastered by Mark Alan Miller. All songs written by Kim Moberg (melody on “The Fourth Fire: Two Faces” written with Evans). Musicians on the album include Moberg (lead vocal, acoustic guitar), Evans (upright bass, electric guitars, baritone guitar, Gibson tenor guitar, Hammond B3 organ, drums, concert bass drum, percussion, Filipino kubing, orchestral instrumentation, compositions and arrangements, harmony vocals), Rebecca Moberg (vocals) and Matthias Bossi (drums, percussion).

Go here to order The Seven Fires Prophecy (out on Aug. 11):

Check out tour dates for Kim Moberg here:



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