Song Analysis

Virginia

Thursday 22 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

(Coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song)

"Going and visiting Virginia, there is a sweetness and a sadness because she’s able to hear this voice that goes back hundreds of years, she’s able to go back in time with this voice. And she’s able to really see, sort of, the um, the innocence of America at that time, as a teenager. She sees some of it in ’Scarlet’s Walk’, but it gets very mature, that voice in ’Scarlet’s Walk’, it’s all-knowing America when she talks to Scarlet about what happened.

But in ’Virginia’, you know, she’s a young girl. And I guess Scarlet is trying to go back in time and talk to America as that teenager and say, ’Hey, you know, you might not wanna be so trusting,’ or, ’Hey, you know, you might wanna think about this before you stop speaking your language here, here and here and give it all up and renounce what your soul knew as true.’ Oh, all those things that you want to tell somebody who’s a teenager." (Scarlet Stories CD)

In "Virginia", Scarlet makes her way up to Washington and visits Jamestown, one of the earliest settlements. She wonders how a land built on the notion of freedom for the settlers could deny freedom to the native American people. "In her mind she sees the white brother coming and the young Native American girl following. The mythology of another land has been imposed on America." (Scarlet’s Walk bio)

"And in Virginia, the nation personified in that song as a woman loses her identity and even forgets her own name. That’s Scarlet’s realization, it’s time for her to give back. And she also realises that we all have a choice as to who we let into our lives." (Hot Press November 20, 2002)

"We follow Scarlet as she then makes her way to Virginia, going back in time to the 15th century when the first settlers were coming in. Quietly watching, in a sense, the charming, naïve possibilities that the early Native American nations and European settlers began to build upon. Scarlet leaves them to their hopes and dreams of what Turtle Island could become, knowing full well the tragedy on the great Red Road that lies ahead of them all." (A Piano booklet, p. 39.)