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photos © Rick Lewis
What People Are Saying...
On "Everything Changes" (2008 release)
"This is a powerful collection from a grounded talent."
—Sing Out! Magazine
"Already a well-known tunesmith around Duluth and at the Minnesota Folk Festival, where she won the New Folk songwriting contest in 2002, Sara Thomsen is probably just one strong album away from making a broader impact in the Twin Cities scene. That album should be 'Everything Changes'... Recorded at Sacred Heart Studio (an old church in Duluth), it features a patch-quilt of musical styles stitched together by Thomsen's lonely alto voice and evocative writing style. Highlights include a jazzy tribute to her late grandma, 'I Remember These,' the hallowed ballad 'The Morning After Your Heart Breaks' and 'Todo Cambia,' a Latin folk gem she picked up during travels in South America."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Folk music can be too earnest for its own good as it devolves into shrill lectures; or, it can be so easygoing as to disappear. Sara Thomsen, an out artist from the Twin Ports, works in the delicate middle ground between the two, crafting music that is at turns angry, defiant, warm, and loving. Pulling together songs she has written over the past decade, Everything Changes is held together by her smooth voice and elegant delivery, along with the efforts of a talented team of musicians providing a warm aural backdrop. Thomsen tackles difficult political subjects—check out 'A Woman’s Place' or the sprawling 'All Across the Land' for examples. But I found myself drawn to the tales of everyday life like 'I Remember These.' "
—Lavender, Minneapolis, MN
"Sara Thomsen has created a recording that is subtly captivating and seductive in its fragility. “Everything Changes” is a personal record that magnetically pulls you in. Some artists write big, bold anthems that can overwhelm a listener. This record quietly beckons. Enter this world to find a woman daring to go into those vulnerable, dark places that we all like to keep hidden. Thomsen does it with courage, eloquence and dignity, while translating the contents of her soul into musical form. She infuses these songs with the same unostentatious love and warmth that she generates in live performances." Read entire review
—Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN
“[Thomsen’s] soulful voice, poetic lyrics and unforgettable melodies cut through to the heart and the soul of human experience.”
—Minnesota Women’s Press, St. Paul
“An intimate, personal reflection on how life changes.”
—St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud, MN
On "By Breath" (2003 release)
"The Twin Ports folk singer picks up the torch carried by the balladeers of decades past: Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, and Peter, Paul, and Mary... Her voice is lovely yet strong, held aloft by her faith and conviction. She's everyone's guide and mother, a goddess who, instead of teetering on a pedestal, stands before you in blue jeans and looks you in the eye. She could make Conan the Barbarian drop his sword and collapse blubbering. Say what you will about the practicality of her vision, it's the light we all head for, even though we have no idea when we'll finally arrive."
—Reader Weekly, Duluth, MN
“There’s something cosmic in her lyrics…”
—Budgeteer News, Duluth
“‘By Breath’ showcases a continuing evolution in Thomsen’s music. Where 1999’s ‘Fertile Ground’ was more introspective, ‘By Breath” features music that encourages action and outward discovery.”
—Duluth News Tribune, Cover article in “The Wave” May 9, 2003
On "Fertile Ground " (1999 release)
“With Thomsen’s pure-toned alto voice carrying strong melodies over delicate guitar accompaniment, her music could hardly be simpler. That simplicity harbors depth.”
—Skyworld, Duluth, MN
“Thomsen is known for her sumptuous vocals and elegant folk style as well as her activism.”
—RipSaw News, Duluth, MN
“Sara Thomsen remains one of Northern Minnesota's best kept secrets.”
—Reader Weekly, Duluth, MN
What cultural creatives, movers and mystics, people like you are saying...
“Like the essence of a poem and the heart of a seed, Sara's music is transforming.”
—Elizabeth Nordell, Storyteller, Duluth, MN
“Sara’s voice is like the best butter you’ve ever had--on a big, generous meltingly gorgeous piece of bread right out of the oven. Hearing Sara is like coming home to your own soul; her music is cozy and big all at the same time. The first time I heard her, I cried for joy. Real tears.”
—Nancy Conger, Author, Playwright, Violinist, Coach, North Branch, MN
“Sara’s songs are an exciting mix of the very personal, the political and the universal.”
—Frankie Armstrong, Singer, Voice Teacher
Natural Voice Practitioners Network, Co-founder, Cardiff, Wales
“Sara Thomsen's music takes you everywhere tender, smart—everywhere loving and alive.”
—Carol Robbins, Ed.D., Director, Off-Campus College Program
City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies, New York City
“Sara seems to tap people's innermost spiritual hiding places whether they know it or not. She ends the night on a positive note with a feeling of community connectedness.”
—Angie Nichols, Director of GLBT Services
University of Minnesota-Duluth
"Sara Thomsen's music is lamp oil for the Inner Light. Each Thomsen concert is covert non-violence training. Her music helps us find the seeds of peacemaking within ourselves. Sara's music resonates with the 'still small voice' within each of us. At once we recognize our vital place in the people's choir. Sara's music is easy to sing and hard to forget. Just add your voice and the revolution has begun--again."
—John Heid, Quaker, Catholic Worker, nonviolent activist, birder
Winona Catholic Worker, Winona, MN
“Sara's music digs deep down beyond the standard lyrics of ‘you can be anything you want' and opens up a world of how ‘who we are' is shaped by the journey and places we choose to grow.”
—Maribeth Overland, Director, Student Activities & Leadership Development
College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
“Sara Thomsen’s music is a real resource for my teaching and public presentations. Her style of music is well received by a variety of audiences because it is engaging, but not threatening, contemplative yet very much alive with an energy that lingers with the listener. Sara’s music is 'fertile ground' for exploring important issues of our time. Invaluable for educators, workshop leaders and retreat facilitators.”
—Mari Ann Graham, Ph.D, School of Social Work
University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine, St. Paul
“I was impressed by Sara’s ability to draw the audience into her songs, not just through singing, but through her presence. There seemed to be no barrier between the performer and the audience; it was as if a group of friends had gathered to spend an evening together.”
—Julie Flotten, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Finland, MN
"I appreciated Sara's flexibility, creativity and sensitivity to the changing moods and dynamics of our group, which enabled her, at a moment's notice, to focus group energy and enhance a learning experience. She has a wonderful repertoire of songs including the many written by herself. She is very gifted in teaching groups new songs and in helping people discover and enjoy their singing voice. To be with Sara is to want to sing."
—Don Christensen, Director (former)
Cuernavaca Center for Intercultural Dialogue on Development
“Sara's music reflects her person. It is real. It is deep and soulful and insistent upon the vision of justice and wholeness delivered through the gift of an astounding voice.”
—Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay, Pastor
Richfield United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, MN
"Sara Thomsen graced the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin with a week-end of powerful and heartfelt performance. In addition to her well received CD release concert in our Historic Auditorium, Sara provided music for all three of our week-end services. Her repertoire is so varied as to provide thematic support for a wide variety of sermon topics and service themes. Sara’s music and her message were deeply appreciated by a community for whom musical excellence is a constant standard."
—Rev. Karen Johnson Gustafson, Minister
First Unitarian Society of Madison, WI
"One of Sara Thomsen's greatest gifts as a singer, songwriter, and performer is the absolute personal integrity that is woven into everything she sings and writes. She is a woman with a deep sense of spirituality, and an uncompromising commitment to social justice...Sara is a remarkable artist, and an agent of transformation in a world that needs her unique voice and the political critique and spiritual wisdom that her music boldly proclaims."
—Christine Smith, Professor, Author
United Theological Seminary, Minneapolis/St. Paul
“Sara’s songs seem to touch people deeply, to bring out their kinder, more open side, something we don’t always see here.”
—Sue Moss, Chaplain (former)
St. Louis County Jail, Duluth