House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason has written a book about her astonishing feat of raising a family of seven brothers and sisters, all of them classically-trained musicians.

These siblings don't come from the rarefied environment of elite music schools, but from a state comprehensive in Nottingham. How did they do it? Their mother, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. What comes out is a beautiful and heartrending memoir of the power of determination, camaraderie and a lot of hard work’ - book cover.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, her third eldest, was the first black musician to win BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016 and performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Two of his siblings are also former BBC Young Musician category finalists and the eldest, pianist Isata (pictured left), has presented for the Proms and recently released her first album showcasing the works of Clara Schumann. 

We have been fortunate enough to welcome the Kanneh-Mason family twice to Swaledale Festival. In 2017 Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the Kanneh-Mason Trio filled St. Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth with their mesmorising sounds and in 2019 Sheku and Friends performed at The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn.  Both times we were struck by their spine-tingling talent, poise, modesty and big smiles.  

Watch the Kanneh-Masons perform their new single ‘The Seal Lullaby’ here - a special arrangement of Eric Whitacre's much-loved choral piece for all seven siblings, a beautiful piece to calm and sustain.

'The Seal Lullaby' is also on their new CD 'Carnival of the Animals', released 20 November for Christmas and made with Michael Morpurgo and Olivia Coleman - a perfect present or stocking filler. 

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