Family with Antiguan roots performs classical music to local youth

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The UK-based Kanneh-Mason siblings, aged seven to 20, have expressed their excitement for the opportunity to perform classical music for Antiguan and Barbudan youth this week, under the theme ‘Playing to Inspire’.
The group, which displayed their skills to Barbudan students over the weekend, also serenaded children from a number of primary and secondary schools around St John’s, yesterday, at the Methodist Church Hall.
Today, they are scheduled to perform at Cabinet, Island Academy and St Anthony’s Secondary School.
The group will entertain primary and secondary school children from rural schools, tomorrow, at All Saints Anglican Church, and will perform for the boys of St Joseph’s Academy at Holy Family Cathedral on Friday.
“I think in Antigua that’s probably not the main music that people would go for and so they wouldn’t expect children like us to be playing. I think there’s something special about seeing someone doing something exciting when they are near to your age,” said 17-year-old Sheku, adding that the group aims to change the local perception of classical music.
The seven children of Antiguan Stuart Mason and Kadiatu — Sierra-Leonean and Welsh national — are award-winning classical musicians. Sheku, a cellist who recently signed a recording contract with Decca Classics, was the first black musician to win the 2016 BBC Young Musician’s Award.
He said that his brother Braimah and sisters Isata, Konya, Jeneba, Aminata and Mariatu grew up with classical music playing throughout their home.
Both parents played classical music as children, with mom Kadiatu being their first teacher.
The talented brothers and sisters also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and were deemed ‘The Most Talented Family in the World’ by well-known judge, Simon Cowell.
During an OBSERVER media interview, eldest daughter Isata said: “I think what is most interesting for all of us is the fact that we come from Antigua; all of us children are half-Antiguan, so it’s in our blood.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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