The Story of Thistle's Music
Thistle's hauntingly beautiful songs for harp and voice are the product of her education in S. Indian, western classical and jazz music, plus her love of literature that grapples with the archetypal: Good vs. Evil, Nature vs. Man, Woman vs. Man, God vs the Devil. Years of formal music education, combined with her love of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales have allowed her to create songs which evoke all the mystery, depth and magic as do the stories that have inspired them. Her self titled project, THISTLE, is based in New York City, and usually involves other folk and orchestral instruments. The music is meant to be played in old churches and cathedrals, dark velvety clubs and anywhere there is natural or man-made beauty. THISTLE has been described as mystical and angelic, as well as evocative of death, ghosts, deep female darkness and pagan magic.
Thistle began performing as a vocalist while attending the George School, a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania. One of her classmates happened to be the daughter of renowned First Nations artist Pura Fe, lead singer and founder of Ulali. Together they performed a cappella the music of Ulali, in both the Tuscaroran and English languages. Thistle also sang in rock bands throughout high school until she attended Hampshire College (F2000), where she began an intensive study of jazz, western classical and South Indian classical singing, theory and composition. In 2004, she found her teacher Saavithri Ramanand in Queens and embarked on what would be a six year study of Karnatak voice, learning to sing classical songs about Hindu gods and goddesses in the Hindu, Tamil and Sanskrit languages. Years later she would realize that not only was this an education in Indian music, but it was also a participation in the Hindu religion. She finished her university studies at the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music, graduating in 2007 with honors. In 2010, Thistle self-released a rock album as Queen of Sibyls, a trio for guitar and vox (Thistle), bass and drums. The music was heavily inspired by the alt female rock groups of the 1990's. She disbanded Queen of Sibyls shortly after completing the album. At this time, Thistle also quit her formal studies of Karnatak music just before her arrangetram (graduation performance). This is when she took up the lever harp.
After moonlighting as a session harpist and background vocalist for a while, Thistle "quit music." Frustrated by her own perceived inability to successfully blend all the knowledge and skills she learned in the many genres she had studied, and by her almost total lack of in-the-flesh female mentors and supportive female peers in music, she gave up her calling. During this four year hiatus, Thistle took up both the drums and interior design and also built an inn in the Catskills. All the while, Thistle knew she must return to music, her life's purpose, but didn't feel inspired. In 2015, when she was asked to join a rock band as a back up vocalist, she jumped back into music. People around her encouraged her to make her own music again and to perform as a solo artist. She quit the band, picking up where she left off four years ago--writing an album of songs for harp and voice inspired by the stories of Hans Christian Andersen.
Writing and performing music is very much a service to others in the eyes of Thistle, a service that borders on spiritual aide and recovery. She feels she must do this, for you. Please do take a moment to sign up on the mailing list (scroll down on the homepage) and enjoy her gift of music--an exotic fruit born of long term internal struggle, an intensive study of music, and an obsession with beauty--made just for you.