When it comes to classical music, the Kanneh-Mason siblings need no introduction. The extraordinarily gifted family of seven siblings ranging from ages 11-24 is no stranger to headlines and has appeared on numerous television shows as well as has been the subject of several documentaries including CBS Sunday Morning, BBC FOUR’s Young, Gifted, and Classical. The five eldest notably performed at the Bafta awards in 2018 and all seven appeared in the December 2019 Royal Variety Show. More recently, they opened BBC One’s 2020 Imagine series film entitled This House is Full of Music.
Cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the third of seven siblings yesterday was honored with his MBE in Windsor Castle. The 22-year-old cellist became a household name in 2018 when he played at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In 2015, he and his siblings contested for Britain’s Got Talent as The Kanneh-Masons. He won the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year contest in May 2016, becoming the first black musician to win the award since its launch in 1978. Kanneh-Mason performed at the 2017 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) held in London’s Royal Albert Hall and 2018 rewrote history as the first artist ever to be re-invited to perform a second time at the British Academy Film Awards. his second BAFTA performance, Sheku was joined on stage at the Royal Albert Hall by four of his siblings: Isata, Braimah, Konya, and Jeneba Kanneh-Mason.
In early February 2018, the BBC reported that Kanneh-Mason’s album Inspiration was “the biggest-selling British debut of the year to date”,
The Kanneh-Masons have varied interests musically and play either violin, piano, or cello. All children at a point have attended or attend London’s Royal Academy of Music and its Primary and Junior Academies, except pianist Jeneba is presently at London’s Royal College of Music for her undergraduate studies.
Born to Stuart Mason, a business executive, and Dr. Kadiatu Kanneh, a former university lecturer and raised in Nottingham, England, the children found their love for music from both parents who ay back were into music but never took it professionally. Kadiatu is of Sierra Leonean origin and lectured English at the University of Birmingham, while Stuart, both of whose parents were born in Antigua, was born in London and works for a luxury experiential travel company.
In September 2020, Oneworld published Dr. Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason’s inspiring memoir entitled: House of Music – Raising the Kanneh-Masons
Recently, Kadiatu won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Storytelling Award (RPS) for her memoir House of Music – Raising the Kanneh-Masons.
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