The Story of Thistle's Music
THISTLE is a cello/harp/percussion trio that plays original compositions with lyrics inspired by gothic Victorian literature. The trio is led by American composer, singer and harpist Thistle, who has performed and studied in the western classical, South Indian classical, jazz, rock, and folk genres. The music of THISTLE has been described as mystical, haunting, and angelic, and is meant to be heard anywhere there is natural or man-made beauty. Thistle also currently sings and plays harp in Rasputina.
Thistle took piano lessons from the age of seven and especially enjoyed playing the music of Bach. She also had a penchant for singing and experimenting with noise. Thistle began performing as a vocalist while attending The George School, a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania. One of her classmates was the daughter of Pura Fe, lead singer and founder of renowned First Nations group Ulali. Together they performed a cappella the music of Ulali, in the Tuscaroran and English languages, using rattles for accompaniment. Throughout high school, Thistle also sang in rock bands. At Hampshire College she began an intensive study of singing, theory and composition in the Jazz, Western classical and South Indian genres.
Eventually Thistle moved to Brooklyn, NY with her baby grand piano and sought out Karnatak vocalist Saavithri Ramanand in Queens. Under this five year tutelage, Thistle learned classical Indian songs about Hindu gods and goddesses in the Hindu, Tamil and Sanskrit languages. She finished her formal musical studies at the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in Manhattan, attaining a BFA in Jazz Voice with honors. Shortly before graduating, Thistle took up the electric guitar and eventually the drums, creating a three piece rock band which she named Queen of Sibyls. This music was heavily inspired by the alt rock female groups of the 1990's (link to album "Dark Horse" in Music tab).
Thistle didn't take up the harp until adulthood. After a year of studying under Tomoko Sugarawa, a classical harpist and reviver of the ancient Kugo harp, Thistle purchased her own harp. She did some work with bands as a session harpist and background vocalist. Two years into her discovery of the harp, Thistle "quit" music. During a four year hiatus, she created an interior design firm, built an inn in the Catskills and took drum lessons with Sara Landau of The Julie Ruin. Thistle felt music was her life's purpose, but was suffering from lack of inspiration and drive. In 2015, when asked to join a band in Brooklyn, she returned to the stage and to the passion she once had for playing harp and composing.
Writing and performing music is very much a service to others in the eyes of Thistle, a service that borders on spiritual awakening and recovery. Please take a moment to sign up on the mailing list and enjoy her gift of music.