The Kanneh-Masons: meet Britain’s most talented musical family

Read on for our introduction to that remarkably talented and musical family, the Kanneh-Masons, including the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Masonpianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason, all performing in the BBC proms 2024.

Who is Sheku Kanneh-Mason?

Sheku rose to fame in 2016 when he won BBC Young Musician, the first black artist to do so in the competition’s history. Later he got worldwide recognition then he performed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018. He signs with Decca, a label on which he has released two albums: Inspiration in 2018 and a recording of Elgar’s cello concerto in 2020.

In 2018, he won Male Artist of the Year and the Critics’ Choice Award at the Classic BRIT Awards.

Buy an Elgar album from Amazon

How many siblings does Sheku Kanneh-Mason have?

Sheku Kanneh-Mason has six siblings, all of whom are musicians.

His mother Kadiatu has published a book, House of Music: Educating the Kanneh Masons, about her experience raising the family in Nottingham. It won the 2021 RPS Prize for Storytelling.

Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano

Isata Kanneh-Mason is a pianist and the eldest of Kanneh-Mason’s siblings. Like Sheku, she is signed to Decca Classics.

In 2019, Isata released her debut recording on the label: a collection of piano works by Clara Schumann. She and Sheku performed together as a duo at the 2020 BBC Proms, and she has a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy of Music.

You can listen to our interview with Isata Kanneh-Mason on the Music to my Ears podcast here. In it she talks about the music and artists that made her who she is today, from Beyoncé to Yuja Wang.

Braimah Kanneh-Mason, violin

Braimah is often seen on stage in a trio with Isata and Sheku, and is also part of the Chineke! Orchestra, the leading British ensemble made up of BME musicians. He learns from violinist Jack Liebeck.

Konya Kanneh-Mason, violin

Konya is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music, where all her older siblings also studied.

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, piano and cello

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason studies at the Royal College of Music, where she focuses on piano. In 2018 she was a keyboard finalist at BBC Young Musician. She plays in Chineke! Junior Orchestra, and will soon make her debut with Chineke! in the near future. She also recently signed with Sony Classical.

Aminata Kanneh-Mason, violin

Aminata has achieved grade 8 distinction on both violin and piano, and often performs in concerts with her siblings.

Mariatu Kanneh-Mason, cello

Mariatu is Kanneh-Mason’s youngest sibling and thus was too young to join them in 2015 when the family appeared on Britain has talent. She teaches piano and cello, the latter of which she achieved her grade 8 distinction.

Where do the Kanneh Masons live?

The Kanneh-Mason family is based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, where they performed together as children. They traveled to London on Saturday to visit the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. The older siblings went on to study at the Academy at the bachelor’s level.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason is dressed by fellow Nottingham legend Paul Smith.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason at the BBC Proms 2024

Sheku will perform twice at the 2024 BBC Proms, both times alongside his violinist brother Braimah. For Prom 20 on Sunday, August 4, the duo will be joined by Plínio Fernandes (guitar), the Fantasia Orchestra and conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh for a program of arrangements of songs by Burt Bacharach and Bob Marley, chamber music by Bartok And Brahmsand an arrangement of the beloved national anthem ‘Scarborough Fair‘.

Then for Prom 22 (a Relaxed Prom), on the morning of Monday August 5, Sheku and Braimah join forces for a concert presented by saxophonist Jess Gillam.

Isata Kanneh-Mason at the BBC Proms 2024

Sheku’s sister Isata has a big appearance at the BBC Proms 2024: she will perform on the First Night (Friday 19 July). She joins soprano Sophie Bevan, the BBC singersBBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Elim Chan in an inclusive line-up Handel, op. Mackerras Music for the royal fireworks: overture, Bruckner Psalm 150, Clara Schumann Piano Concerto, Ben Nobuto Hallelujah Sim. (BBC commission: world premiere), and Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor.

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