Friday, January 03, 2020

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

This evening for "Music Night" at The Wild Reed I share something special from British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

I'll let Sheku himself explain more. . . .

So happy to share my first release of 2020, “Blow The Wind Southerly”!

The first time I heard this beautiful traditional song it was sung by Kathleen Ferrier. Her unmistakeable contralto voice matches the cello so well, I found it irresistible to make my own arrangement. It’s the only solo cello piece on my new album, as well as being the first piece you hear, and I was especially keen to create a video for it. I really hope you enjoy it is as much as I enjoyed making it!

My album is out next Friday (January 10) and is available to order now here.

Writes music critic Sharon Kelly:

Described by The Times as, “the world’s new favourite cellist”, and by TIME magazine as a “champion of classical music,” Sheku was inspired to learn the cello after hearing Elgar’s Cello Concerto when he was aged eight or nine. His family owned a CD of the legendary 1965 recording by Jacqueline du Pré which Sheku said “directly connected with [his] emotions.” Now aged 20, he has performed the piece many times with orchestras around the world – including a televised BBC Prom at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August, where he was praised for his “poised” (Telegraph) and “introspective” (Financial Times) performance.

For his latest album Sheku uses Elgar’s iconic work as a lens through which to explore the wider musical landscape of pre-and post-war Europe. New arrangements of Elgar’s powerful and ubiquitously British ‘Nimrod’ from his Enigma Variations, and ‘Romance In D Minor’ are also featured on his new album.

Sheku recorded many of the chamber works alongside his cello friends and colleagues, as well as his brother Braimah Kanneh-Mason who plays violin on Bloch’s ‘Prayer.’

Sheku performed at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May 2018 which was watched across the world by 3 billion people. He continues to perform with many of the world’s leading orchestras and will tour Europe and the US with his sister Isata Kanneh-Mason in 2019/2020.

After winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016 Sheku signed to Decca Classics in 2017 and released his Classical BRIT award-winning debut album, Inspiration, in January 2018. It peaked at No. 11 in the Official UK Album Chart and reached the Top 20 Billboard charts in the US, as well as topping classical charts in the UK and Australia. To date Inspiration has accumulated over 60 million streams and sold over 120,000 copies worldwide, earning him a BRIT Certified Breakthrough Award.

– Sharon Kelly
Excerpted from “Sheku Kanneh-Mason Announces New Album Elgar
October 29, 2019

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