Shessi Sandu

Yessica Rostan, stage name Shessi Sandu, is a singer-songwriter, pianist/keyboardist, and percussionist. She composes and writes lyrics in Spanish and English since the age of 12. Shessi migrated to Toronto as a child from Paysandu, Uruguay and as a result, her sound is a reflection of her diverse biocultural experiences. She creates from the belief that as musical beings we can all tap into the organic, emotional, and raw energetic power of music to move, soothe, inspire, and transform us. Shessi is grateful and inspired to be part of the ST band because she identifies with the challenges of living and thriving with chronic illness expressed through the band’s music and believes in Tim’s mission to end AIDS by 2030.

In February 2020, Shessi performed with RAW Artists Canada’s Toronto showcase Premiere at the MOD Club Theatre, where she played her songs, Musical Beings, Ride With You, Catch A Vibration, and Hold It Together, with a live band.

In September 2019, Shessi released her first single, Hold It Together, produced by Errol Starr Francis, which she debuted performing at the Toronto #YouthClimateStrike at Queens Park with Fridays For Future Toronto.

In August 2019, Shessi began to work with Evolutionary Music Cooperative in Toronto as a founding artist member and communications coordinator. She has performed with EvMC multiple times since.

In March 2019, Shessi Sandu featured on released single, Dreams Comes True, written by Toronto Slam Poetry Champion, Spin el Poeta, and produced by Errol Starr Francis.

In May 2017, Shessi sang in Batu’s commemorative Tribute Show to Michael Jackson at Lula Lounge with Treson of the Human Rights band and the 420 Orquestra.

As a percussionist, Shessi has performed Afro-Uruguayan candombe, playing the piano candombe drum during carnavals in Uruguay. From 2013 to 2018, she performed samba-reggae, playing surdo and repenique drums with Toronto’s Premiere Afro-Brazilian Batucada band Batu, directed by Patricio “Pato” Irie. With Batu, Shessi has performed in musical collaborations city-wide at venues including the Royal Ontario Museum, Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, Dundas West Fest, and Toronto Jazz Festival.

Yessica is also a community educator and youth programming consultant. Using biocultural arts and sciences to highlight the connections between humans and nature, Yessi works with children, youth, and intergenerational groups to create learning spaces for healthier, more resilient people, communities, and biomes. Through her talks, performances, workshops, and programming, Yessi encourages participants to reflect on their own intersecting cultural and place-based biocultures. Yessi holds a BSc in Biological Sciences, English, and Spanish Literature, as well as an MA in Social Justice Education.

Born in Paysandu, Uruguay, and raised in Tkaronto, Yessi’s work is reflective of her learnings of migration, health, living, identity, and social justice. Yessi lives entre Norte y Sur (between north and south) and collaborates with people across the globe.

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