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How the Kanneh-Masons hope to demystify classical new music


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How the Kanneh-Masons hope to demystify classical new music

Image copyright Jake Turney Image caption Clockwise from top row: Konya, Jeneba, Sheku, Braimah, Aminata, Mariatu, Isata Kanneh-Mason They may be among Britain’s most gifted musical siblings, but the Kanneh-Masons insist they are just like any other family. “We were playing a lot of football over lockdown,” says eldest brother, violinist Braimah, 22. “There were…

How the Kanneh-Masons hope to demystify classical new music

Konya, Jeneba, Sheku, Braimah, Aminata, Mariatu, Isata Kanneh-MasonImage copyright
Jake Turney

Graphic caption

Clockwise from best row: Konya, Jeneba, Sheku, Braimah, Aminata, Mariatu, Isata Kanneh-Mason

They may perhaps be among Britain’s most gifted musical siblings, but the Kanneh-Masons insist they are just like any other spouse and children.

“We were being playing a ton of soccer over lockdown,” claims eldest brother, violinist Braimah, 22. “There ended up a great deal of disputes above whether the ball experienced crossed the line or not. I might say when we are participating in a match that is when the arguments commence.”

Mariatu, 11, a cellist and pianist, claims becoming the youngest – and the shortest – certainly has its drawbacks, primarily in the kitchen area at the household dwelling in Nottingham.

“I’m very small and everyone just barges past me and it is really really stress filled in some cases and individuals usually pull me apart by my head which I obtain irritating.”

When they are participating in tunes, however, the classically qualified brothers and sisters are, in accordance to sister Isata, 24, “extra respectful”.

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Media captionMichael Morpurgo on recording with the Kanneh- Masons

“We slip into a more professional mood,” suggests the pianist who previously this month made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Corridor.

Now they have come together to history their to start with album as a spouse and children, Carnival, which will be unveiled by their record label Decca on six November.

“It felt like a attractive thing to make a recording at the ages that we are now, as a snapshot of exactly where we are at the moment,” claims cellist Sheku, 21, who played at the marriage ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

But there was an additional reason. They made the decision they needed to history Carnival of the Animals, by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The musical suite of actions is focused to animals which includes lions, elephants and fish.

Sheku, who was the initial black winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Calendar year competitiveness in 2016, explains why.

“We all grew up listening to albums like Peter and the Wolf (Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale) as small children. We remembered staying so motivated by that and so we needed to make our variation.”

Impression copyright
Decca/Emma Chichester Clark

They had been eager for the album to be aimed squarely at young children. It is all aspect of their mission to demystify classical music, in particular for youthful persons.

“Classical songs is not viewed as that available to lots of little ones,” states Isata. “We experience there ought to be far more classical music aimed at youngsters.”

The Kanneh-Masons know they were blessed. “We went to two wonderful condition faculties that seriously supported songs and inspired us to proceed tunes outside the house of university as very well,” claims sister Jeneba 18, who plays piano and cello and has been awarded a scholarship to the Royal University of Tunes.

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Media captionBraimah Kanneh-Mason describes the lockdown recording of Carnival

“We want each and every child to have that kind of possibility at their college and I consider especially now, when tunes isn’t definitely observed as a precedence in faculties, we genuinely want it to go again to a single of the key priorities.

“For us it can be been seriously astounding and it truly is served us turn into the musicians that we are now.”

In the meantime they hope the album will help.

In the exact same way that Peter and the Wolf employs figures and a story to introduce young children to diverse devices in the orchestra, Carnival combines audio with text.

And that is where the writer of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, will come in. He was “thrilled” to be questioned to publish poetry to accompany the recording.

“I was quite astonished mainly because I am not strictly speaking a poet,” he suggests. But he was so encouraged he finished up crafting 15 new poems and reads lots of of them on the album.

Picture copyright
Getty Illustrations or photos

Impression caption

Olivia Colman recorded her enter in her mini studio at house

And while he desired to work “with this remarkable group of youthful musicians”, he also desired to be included because “the natural entire world we stay in we are speedy destroying and we have exploited these creatures. And I required this to arrive out, not so it truly is heavy, but so it is really part of the tale.

“So for instance, when I wrote a poem about a tortoise I connected that extremely clearly to the way we are living our lives and I was mindful of the reality that we need to gradual down.

“I know I have to have to gradual down,” adds the previous Children’s Laureate. “So it was a lesson from a tortoise to us all.”

And the poem is a person of several on the album carried out by the Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman (six poems on her and two with Morpurgo).

But although the Kanneh-Mason family and Morpurgo spent two days recording their components at Abbey Highway Studios in London they fulfilled the star of The Favourite and The Crown “practically, about Zoom”, points out Braimah.

“Olivia Colman was recording from a mini studio from her dwelling in Norfolk.”

The Kanneh-Masons were being also keen to put their unique imprint on the album. They have recorded their possess arrangement of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, marking 40 a long time since its release in 1980.

“We realized we wanted some thing that was only ours or something that was precise to the 7 of us,” claims Isata.

“We all have these a connection with Bob Marley and his audio and I think it really is just pleasant to have that type of distinction on an if not classical album.”

It was Jeneba who arrived up with the notion.

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“We might been listening to that specific music the most through lockdown and it was the piece that we could have the most enjoyment with and improvise all over all the diverse chords.”

“Unfortunately they failed to ask me to play Redemption Music,” states Morpurgo.

“That is for the reason that I only got Quality A person on the violin – around 65 yrs ago.”


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