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House of Music

Raising the Kanneh-Masons

Published by Oneworld Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

The most talented musical family in the world. For the first time, mother Kadie Kanneh-Mason shares her unique story.



‘Riveting, taking in prejudice as well as sacrifice. There are 4.30am starts, lost instruments, fractured wrists, all captured with vivid flourishes. A paean to camaraderie.’ Observer

Seven brothers and sisters. All of them classically trained musicians. One was Young Musician of the Year and performed for the royal family. The eldest has released her first album, showcasing the works of Clara Schumann. These siblings don’t come from the rarefied environment of elite music schools, but from a state comprehensive in Nottingham. How did they do it?

Their mother, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. What comes out is a beautiful and heartrending memoir of the power of determination, camaraderie and a lot of hard work. The Kanneh-Masons are a remarkable family. But what truly sparkles in this eloquent memoir is the joyous affirmation that children are a gift and we must do all we can to nurture them.

About The Author

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a former lecturer at Birmingham University and the mother of seven children. The third eldest, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, was BBC Young Musician 2016 and performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The siblings have performed at the 2018 BAFTA ceremony, Britain’s Got Talent, The Royal Variety Performance and at major concert halls around the world.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (August 31, 2021)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861540297

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Raves and Reviews

‘Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason’s story offers a ray of sunshine. Her account of the daily struggle to manage the musical educations of her family’s seven talented children reaches a triumphant conclusion when second son, cellist Sheku, achieves worldwide fame in 2018, playing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’

– Financial Times, BOOKS OF THE YEAR

‘[Kadiatu’s] frank memoir reveals the eye-watering level of practical, emotional, intellectual and financial commitment required to raise seven outstanding classical musicians… Her beautiful, wise writing is its own music.’

– Daily Mail

‘Riveting, taking in prejudice as well as sacrifice. There are 4.30am starts, lost instruments, fractured wrists, all captured with vivid flourishes. A paean to camaraderie.’

– Observer

‘The story runs deeper… Kadie makes no secret of the sacrifices she’s had to make, whether physical (pregnancy never agreed with her), career (she gave up her job as an English lecturer 21 years ago), or financial.’

– Daily Express

‘An amazing, compelling, moving, unforgettable story...’

– Lady Antonia Fraser

‘The unique story of a unique family. Unique? Well I can’t think of any other family with seven children, all of whom are prodigiously talented musicians. Kadie gives a glorious account of how she and husband Stuart came to realise that from the earliest age their children communicated through music. She gives an honest account of the burdens as well as the joys, as she and Stuart knew they had a duty to fulfil, which imposed enormous financial strain on them. Now they can relish their children’s achievements — including Sheku’s performance at a royal wedding — and know all the sacrifice was worth it. Kadie combines this with a searing account of growing up as a mixed-race child in the Britain of the 70s. A deeply intimate and honest read on so many levels.’

– John Suchet

‘A memoir that both candidly portrays and fiercely protects [Kanneh-Mason’s] brood… The fortitude and determination of the parents leap from every page.’

– Guardian

‘The Kanneh-Masons are a unique family and the family’s matriarch, Kadiatu, has written a suitably unique and fascinating account of how day-to-day life works in an extraordinary household.’

– Julian Lloyd Webber

‘Having just spent time working with my friend Sheku at Abbey Road it’s wonderful to read about him and his terrific family. All the DNA that makes him one of the most important classical musicians – actually make that “all around” musicians – of his generation is captured so well in this loving book.’

– Nile Rodgers

‘This book is about hard work, determination and a triumph against the odds. It is truly inspirational!’

– Paul Smith

‘Eloquent and inspirational’

– Surrey Life

‘I was entranced by the inspirational memoir about an exceptional family of very young musicians who have already achieved phenomenal success… Beautifully written and hugely enjoyable, this book shows us what it takes to nurture children to fulfil their potential and offer their unique gifts to the world.’

– Bernardine Evaristo

‘An engaging and informative account of hard work and dedication, given context by [Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason’s] experiences of growing up with a Sierra Leonean father and a Welsh mother in 1970s–1980s Britain.’

– Herald

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