“Thomsen’s soulful voice, poetic lyrics and unforgettable melodies cut through to the heart and the soul of human experience,” proclaims the Minnesota Women’s Press. With a voice rich as the best mid-west soil, Sara's songs carry you inward and outward—in, to the particulars of your own life, and out into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s engagement. Sara’s music gently enfolds and unfolds the listener.
With four solo albums to her credit, Sing Out! Magazine declared Sara Thomsen’s latest release, Everything Changes, “a powerful collection from a grounded talent.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune describes it as “a patch-quilt of musical styles stitched together by Thomsen’s lonely alto voice and evocative writing style.” Peppering an acoustic folk base are hints of jazz, country, latin groove, celtic and bluegrass. "In Everything Changes she has produced a self-portrait that is radiant with elegance, grace and honesty," writes the Duluth News Tribune. "It weaves its way into your soul."
Highlights include “A Woman’s Place,” a commissioned song celebrating women's place in the world.
The song won a Top Finalist award in the midwest regional round of the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, and was published in Sing Out! Magazine. Another highlight, “I Remember These,” is a poignant collection of childhood memories and tribute to Sara’s grandmother. For both songs, Sara won a Top Finalist award in the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua's Songwriting Competition.
Songs on earlier releases have won numerous accolades and awards, including winner of the Minnesota Folk Festival’s New Folk Songwriting Contest for “Irene Marguerite” and “Keepin’ the Peace” off her By Breath CD. Sara won a Top Finalist award in the Public Domain Foundation’s Music To Life Contest for “Is It For Freedom,” off her Fertile Ground CD. The nationwide contest was created by Noel Paul Stookey (of “Peter, Paul and Mary”) to recognize songs of sociopolitical concern. The song was published in Sing Out! Magazine and is aired frequently on Democracy Now!.
Dubbed in her local press as “one of Northern Minnesota’s best kept secrets,” Thomsen’s home base is in the Lake Superior region of Duluth/Superior. “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” writes the Duluth Reader Weekly. “She could make Conan the Barbarian drop his sword and collapse blubbering.”
In addition to her solo work, Sara is a weaver of song and community singing. At concerts, conferences, classrooms, workshops, retreats, jails, places of prayer, and lines of protest, to be with Sara is to want to sing. Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of her work. Sara's ability to get people singing magically transforms gatherings into communities empowered with possibility.
Sara has produced and directed performances over the years combining music, poetry, dance, visual art, storytelling, and puppetry. She is the artistic director of the singing trio "Three Altos," comprised of a rabbi (Amy Bernstein), a folksinger (Thomsen) and a professor (Thomsen’s partner, Paula Pedersen). The Three Altos’ released their debut CD, Camaradas, in 2005 followed by One Voice in 2010. Sara is the founder and artistic director of the "Echoes of Peace Choir," a non-audition community choir in Duluth, Minnesota, with a repertoire of world music and a membership of over 75 voices.
Sara grew up surrounded by a family and community that loved to sing. From listening to her father sing lullabies, to singing her first solo in junior high (Billy Joel’s “For The Longest Time”) and onward, Sara’s life has been infused with music. She is a staunch supporter of struggles for human dignity and ecological sustainability. Slowing down enough to see and hear the vibrant wonder of the commonplace is her work and play. All this can be felt in her music. Whether it is a song welcoming a newborn, protesting a policy, depicting night falling or describing a loved one, her music is alive and pulsing.