5x15 presents: House of Music - Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and family
Born in Sierra Leone but moving to Wales as a young girl, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a former lecturer at Birmingham University and the mother of seven children.
In her book House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race.
Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason arrived in the UK with her mother on a bitterly cold day in 1972.
‘The shock of that arrival never left me…Britain in the 1970s was a cruel place to be Black and mixed race.’
A moving and inspirational account of determination, family history, music and love, The House of Music is the story of how Kadie Kanneh-Mason succeeded in raising what The Times described as ‘Britain’s most musical family.’
Not from the rarefied environment of elite music schools, but from a state comprehensive in Nottingham, all her children have become globally successful musicians, performing on classical music circuits around the world. Kadi’s third eldest, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, was the first Black musician to win Young Musician of the Year in 2016 and the siblings have performed at the BAFTAs, Britain’s Got Talent and concert halls across the world – not to mention hugely popular live broadcasts from their home in Nottingham during the recent lockdown.
Through her very personal journey Kadie charts the family route to success. It’s a story of immigration, determination and hard work. It’s the story of a remarkable family succeeding when everything seemed stacked against them. It’s hugely uplifting and just what we need in the face of everything that’s been happening this year.
Photo credit: Ali J Photography @alijphotos
The Kanneh-Masons are seven brothers and sisters ranging in age from 23 to 10 years old all of whom play either violin, piano or cello. They have won many prizes and awards and appeared in numerous television shows; the five eldest performed at the Bafta awards in 2018 and all seven appear in the 2019 Royal Variety Show to be screened in the UK on 10th December. All the children attend or have attended London’s Royal Academy of Music and its Primary and Junior Academies.
They were raised in Nottingham, England by parents Stuart Mason, a business executive and Dr Kadiatu Kanneh, a former university lecturer. Both parents played musical instruments to a high standard but never pursued professional careers. Born in Sierra Leone but moving to Wales as a young girl, Kadiatu lectured in 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.
Sheku and the family have been the subject of a number of documentaries, including CBS Sunday Morning and BBC FOUR’s Young, Gifted and Classical.
Photo credit: Stuart McIntyre @photonottingham
Josie d’Arby was born and raised in South Wales and has worked in television since the age of 14. As a teenager she attended the Anna Scher Theatre and she is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art . Before retiring from Acting In 2012 Josie enjoyed a long and varied career on stage and screen.
As an RTS award winning broadcaster, Josie has presented for all the major UK networks on programmes related to music, art, entertainment and human interest, broadcasts ranging from Top of the Pops to BBC Radio Four documentaries. She is a regular presenter of BBC Arts programmes including BBCYoung Musician ( with Clemency Burton Hill) , BBC Choir of the Year ( with Gareth Malone ) , BBC Cardiff Singer of the world ( with Petroc Trelawny ) and of course the BBC Proms.
Josie is also an artist and painter, she presents and draws on BBC Fours ground breaking interactive art programme ‘ Life Drawing Live’, which also features award winning artists Lachlan Goudie and Daphne Todd. Outside of work she is a keen cook, gardener, hiker and reader who holds that kindness should be central to everything she does - she is a believer in the path, word and marvel of Christ.