Virginia Thorn is a singer-songwriter from South-East London with Argentine roots. She is influenced by music from North and South America, as well as the British indie pop scene.
Virginia was classically trained at the Blackheath Conservatoire and later studied the bel canto technique with Sandra Scott. In her late teens she became captivated by the music of the 1960s folk revival and set out on a pilgrimage to New York’s Greenwich Village to visit the streets which, nearly half a century earlier, reverberated to the sounds of ‘music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air’. Bob Dylan (who wrote those words in ‘Tangled Up in Blue’), Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell were among the formative influences on her music. Martha Wainwright is a contemporary inspiration, particularly for the passion and vulnerability she channels in her live performance. Pressed to choose one musician above all others, she concedes it would be Tom Waits, admiring his gift to ‘weave a story through song that distils the longing of the human heart’.
Like the artists she admires, Virginia has ‘a love of storytelling, and values the human connection that can take place through music’. She explains: ‘This can happen through rhythm or melody in a place beyond words, but also through lyrics and poetic ideas which might resonate a universal truth. A song which we connect with can translate our individual feeling to the universal plain. Joy is amplified, sorrow is shared – and for me this is the magic of writing and receiving music.’
Melanchly and longing are common themes in her writing. She reflects that songs are her primary answer in times of existential crisis.
Virginia, who is poised to release her debut CD, How Shall We Say Goodbye?, also works with children and adults as an arts psychotherapist. She plays music in gig settings and less common environments, such as movement workshops and meditation spaces and is artist in residence with the Freemind Project which uses live improvised music to allow greater relaxation and insight. She has appeared on stages across the country, playing solo and in collaboration with others including classical French horn player Thomas Allard and pianist Hara Kostogianni who feature on her album. At a festival last summer, her set was billed as heart-centred acoustic music and this fits, if one includes the fiery expressions of the heart as well as the softer edges.
When not performing as a ‘Girl with a Guitar,’ Virginia has also given classical concerts and is currently working on an electro-synth project with tracks to be released later in the year. In 2014 she appeared at the Royal Festival Hall as part of Maurice Onejah’s reggae collective at the Changing Britain Festival.
One of the few buskers last year of the hundreds who auditioned to be awarded a TFL Licence, she can also be found brightening the journey of London’s commuters on the Tube. When the sun is shining, Borough Market is a favourite spot which means those out for a lunch break can feast all their senses!