In 2013, Donovan Thorne packed up his banjo and moved to Montreal from his home in Saskatchewan. In the decade since, he’s woven himself into that city’s folk-roots music scene, pulling traditional and modern elements into his song writing and performances. Thorne makes a pilgrimage to Newfoundland each summer to act as a Viking at the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, and the unique spirit of the island shines through his music.
Thorne received funding through the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR) Artist Development Program in 2020. In summer 2022, he performed weekly for McCarthy’s Party Tour groups in Newfoundland and acted as the house musician for the RagnaRock Northern Brewing Company in St. Anthony, NL. He organized and performed at Mississippi John Hurt tribute concerts in Montreal in 2017 and 2019, both of which garnered positive attention from media and folk enthusiasts.
Steve Gerrard from the Montreal Rocks! blog says “Thorne plays off his education and experience in literature and storytelling with unnerving and unsettling descriptions” and “playfully rambles along the frontier between paying homage to his influences and charging his own road ahead.”
Thorne’s latest release is the six-song EP Come Home & Gone recorded with collaborators Emmanuel Szeptycki and May Shukla under the band name, The Forks. These six tracks explore the relationships to land and community Thorne has cultivated through ten years as a semi-nomad in Canada and a lifetime of exploration around the world. He mixes traditional and rhythmic forms with modern and surrealist approaches, sewing lightheartedness into more serious and somber themes.
Thorne performs as a solo act, with his band The Forks and with his wife Susie as the duo, The Thornes. He currently lives in Montreal with Susie and their daughter, Elsie. When not writing or performing music, Thorne can be found spending time with his family and studying visual art at Concordia University.