Vienna Carroll, a 30-year resident of Harlem, is a singer, playwright, actor, historian and herbalist.
She learned music at her fearsome great grandmother’s Pentecostal and country & western knee. Ms. Carroll wrote and starred in Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han, a musical docudrama about a family escaping slavery, which features rare spirituals and won the International NYC Fringe Festival’s coveted Audience Favorite Award. Singin’s other venues include the PA Goodrich Underground Railroad Museum, Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Newark Museum, Medgar Evers College CUNY and the West Harlem Library Series. Ms. Carroll also produced a CD of spirituals and recently performed selections at the prestigious Schomburg Center’s Emancipation Proclamation event.
Ms. Carroll conceived of and produced the First Annual NYC Underground Railroad Festival Juneteenth Celebration. With the assistance of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, she partnered with The Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, a nationally certified UGRR site; the Brooklyn Historical Society; the Weeksville Heritage Society; and the American Theatre of Harlem. The Festival was a sold-out event and was recorded and broadcast by WBGO-FM, the tri-state area’s premier jazz station.
Ms. Carroll has worked with Leon Thomas, and has studied with Olu Dara, Barry Harris, Walter Bishop Jr., Nanette Natal and Opera Ebony’s Wayne Sanders. While at Yale University, where she received a BA in African American Studies/Political Science, she sang in a jazz band, which included Nat Adderley Jr., Jay Hoggard and Pheeroan Aklaff.
She is currently working on her second music CD. She is also curating songs for a new dramatic work about the rebellions of the early 1800s which will include her ongoing research on urban slavery, Black sailors and 19th century herbal healing.