Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

I’m not deep into classical music but I know good sounds when I hear them. Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason is from a large family of seven musical wunderkinds. I have previously featured her younger brother Sheku. This time we are being regaled by the talents of his sister who is the eldest of the siblings.

From over the pond, our England bred daughter, has direct connections to the Motherland via her mother, Dr. Kadiatu Kanneh, who was born in Sierra Leone. Her father, Stuart Mason, whose family is from the Caribbean island of Antigua, provides the new world heritage in her work.

Isata dives deep into a variety of musics on her new release Summertime. The album includes an emphasis on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a composer of color who achieved fame circa the beginning of the 20th century. Her riveting rendition of “Deep River” is among four of Coleridge-Taylor creations included on the release. Isata also sensitively presents music from popular American composer George Gershwin. She is masterful on four of his diverse compositions. Her muscular dexterity on “I’ve Got Rhythm” is spellbinding.

She is clear and committed in her dedication to music and simultaneously displays a serious development of her consciousness. She willingly and beautifully represents her African heritage even as her chosen field is classical music.

Isata Kanneh-Mason has that wow factor. When she plays, her demeanor and physicality at the keyboard makes it obvious that she is giving one hundred percent.




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