“I’m singin when the sun comes up
I’m singin when it’s high in the sky
I’m singin when the sun goes down
I’m singin cuz I’m free.”
Vienna Carroll learned music from the Black Ladies of her youth including her fearsome great grandmother, Big Mom, who accompanied country singer Minnie Pearl’s radio show on guitar every Saturday night but played only proper Pentecostal chords at Sunday’s all day church services. Vienna formalized her studies with a BA in African American Studies at Yale University.
Vienna’s art challenges deeply held stereotypes about the realities of African American family, love and resistance during slavery, and explores the role of music as a part of the everyday reality of antebellum life. She is completing her debut CD “Harlem Field Recordings 2017” which grew out of her project Folk First: Black Roots Music, celebrating early African American music and its presence in the music of today. Other projects include the award winning musical docudrama Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han, about a family escaping slavery; First NYC Underground Railroad Festival Juneteenth Celebration partnering with Plymouth Church of the Pilgrim, a nationally certified Underground Railroad site, and the Brooklyn Historical Society; The Civil War Series: The Life and Times of the Hills Community – commemorating the valor of a local African American community’s response to the Civil War, as the Artist in Residence at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY. Vienna is currently working on a musical show about the role of Black sailors and boatmen in the slave rebellions of the early 1800s.
Vienna has enjoyed residencies at the Heck Family Estate, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and is an alternate at Djerassi. She sings jazz regularly in NYC venues, accompanied by Dizzy Gillespie’s Michael Howell and Sun Ra’s Bruce Edwards on guitar. She is an herbalist, has her own natural beauty business and is an avid gardener.