Sandi Russell 2015 © by Computer Insight
Edit text here
Sandi Russell's talent goes beyond being an accomplished jazz singer. Her book Render Me My Song: African American Women Writers from Slavery to the Present (Pandora Press 1991, updated 2002) is the basis of an acclaimed one-woman show.

' "Not to know is bad; not to ask is worse," states the African proverb that introduces
Render Me My Song. By the end of this seminal work, no reader will need to ask' ~ Elle Magazine

'Mixing biography, history and literary criticism in a hightly original commentary, Russell writes with verve and passion. Her narrative is at once a rich tribute to black women writers and a valuable resource'
New Directions for Women

Ms. Russell is also co-editor of the Virago book
Love Poems by Women ( - 4 stars). Both books are available at:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon (USA)
Amazon (UK)

In addition, Ms. Russell has co-authored several books, written numerous literary reviews and was a regular contributor to
The Women's Review, London and Wasafiri, Cantebury magazines. She guest lecturered at many universities, conferences and also appeared on British and American Radio (BBC and Voice of America), and was a jazz vocal instructor at the University of Durham, England.

Ms. Russell has also won numerous literary awards and was the Guest of Honor at the International Conference on "Orality" for 2005, at the University of Angers, France ( 'An Interview with Sandi Russell in Angers, 26 November, 2005', in
Journal of the Short Story in English No. 47, Autumn 2006; Presse de l'Université d'Angers, France, pp 193-202.) Among previous honorees: Grahame Green, Muriel Spark, Antonia Byatt and Grace Paley.

Ms. Russell has performed her acclaimed one-woman show,
Render Me My Song: African American Women Writers From Slavery to the Present throughout the UK and Europe. Venues that included Ronnie Scott's, London; Kings College, London; Arthur Miller Centre at the University of East Anglia; Martin Luther King Memorial Conference, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; the Southbank Centre, London; Batley Theatre, Huddersfield; 60th Anniversary of American Studies Conference, University of Manchester; Leeds International Jazz Festival, Leeds College of Music; and the University of Macerata, Italy.

Brian Priestley, one of the UK's foremost jazz critics, says: "
Render Me My Song is a stunning one-woman show with a difference. With the simplest means, Sandi Russell tells a complex and moving story, which raises consciousness without being overly didactic. The twin themes of racial subjugation and gender prejudice are given subtle and varying emphasis, during a recital that alternates literary excerpts and classic vocal repertoire. Drawing on authors such as Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston and performers Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Oscar Brown and Nina Simone, Russell lays it on the line, whether reading or singing. On a bare stage, with the most sparse props and minimal musical accompaniment, she takes her audience on a journey of discovery and self-discovery. "

Ms. Russell is listed in
Who's Who Among African Americans published by Thomson Gale; she was an Honorary Fellow of St. Chad's College, Durham University.

Sandi Russell is a direct descendant, through her mother, of the Native American tribe that befriended the first English settlers in Virginia, and the African slaves who helped create America. She grew up in Harlem during the Civil Rights era and spent her first thirty-odd years in New York City, becoming a teacher and then a superb jazz singer in Manhattan's best venues.

Moving to England, Sandi Russell continued to perform and record with other outstanding musicians, while developing a parallel career as a journalist and writer. Her much-praised book on African-American women writers,
Render Me My Song, appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. Sandi created a powerful show of the same name, performing it throughout Europe and the UK. ELLA!, her one-woman show about the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald, also unites Sandi's exceptional gifts as a singer and writer.

Color brings together one person's quest for identity with the inner lives of a whole community. As individual characters tell their stories, dreams are shared, secrets are revealed and a complex picture emerges of intimate relationships, racial tensions and passionate aspirations. Rooted in Tidewater County, Virginia, this is original fiction in the poetic tradition of William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. Through a rich texture of voices and sensations, it offers unique insights into the history of the New World and the meaning of the 'American Dream'.
Sandi Russell
Jazz Singer, Writer & Educator