Vienna Carroll’s rich soulful sound takes you back to her Black church roots. Her passion and masterful storytelling light a fire in your soul. She interweaves old songs and forgotten stories of Black heroes to serve up Black history with a Serious Groove.
Vienna learned music from the Black Ladies of her youth, including her fearsome great grandmother who played guitar to Grand Ole Opry radio on Saturday nights but only proper Pentecostal chords on Sundays. At her Alabama grandmother’s 125 acre working farm, Vienna joined in the Sunday church services an hour’s drive away down a dusty road, where singing was often accompanied only by the hand clapping and shouting of its fervent members.
Vienna formalized her studies of early Black music at Yale University with a BA in African American Studies. Her influences are Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone and her early church experiences.
Mary Had a Baby is Vienna’s new EP right in time for the Christmas season and infused with holiday spirit, including jazz standards and the traditional Spiritual of the title’s name. It is dedicated to Harriet Tubman and the United States Colored Troops who together rescued nearly 800 enslaved people during the Combahee River Raid in 1863. Though it was in June, it was Christmas for them!
Mary Had a Baby features Vienna on vocals; Dan Furman (Primordial Jazz Funktet) on piano; Michael O’Brien (Harry Connick Jr, Ruben Blades) on bass; and Keith Johnston (Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Jon Hendricks) on background vocals and percussion.
The gorgeous cover artwork is by Adjoa Burrowes.
Vienna’s Harlem Field Recordings CD is Black Roots music with a Serious Groove and features Vienna on vocals; Stanley Banks (George Benson) on bass; Washboard XT/Newman Taylor Baker (Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Henry Grimes) on washboard; Keith Johnston on guitar; and guests Nioka Workman (Anthony Braxton, David Murray) on cello; Melanie Dyer (Joe Bonner, Reggie Workman) on viola; and Henrique Prince (Ebony Hillbillies, Sun Ra Arkestra) on violin.
Vienna's first album, Singin Wid A Sword in Ma Han reprised tunes from her award-winning play of the same name in collaboration with Washboard XT on spoons, pots and other percussion.
Her second album Vienna Carroll Live was a live recording celebrating Blues and Roots music at NYC’s famous Living Room and featured Washboard XT, Michael O’Brien, Melanie Dyer and Keith Johnston.
Vienna's latest projects in development include stories that highlight Union Civil War Camps, United States Colored Troops, and Reconstruction, interspersed with sea shanties and other work songs from the water and rare spirituals--Black songs in whose bosom all American music rests. She continues to work with her stellar string band.
Other Projects: |SHALLOW BROWN: Thessalonia and the Free Sailor, First Langston Hughes Playwright Showcase, Harlem NY |Valor In The Hills, award-winning series about a free Black NY community during the Civil War. Hudson River Museum, Yonkers NY |First NYC Underground Railroad Festival Juneteenth Celebration, Plymouth Church of the Pilgrim, Brooklyn NY |Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han, NYC Fringe Festival Audience Favorite Award.
Vienna lives in Harlem with her wife Katharine, her garden and window boxes.