Cover Image: House of Music

House of Music

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Member Reviews

Beautifully written book about the Kanneh-Mason family and their seven talented, musical children.
I of course knew about Sheku who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and went on to perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  From her life in Sierra Leone to moving back to Wales in the UK to University, meeting her husband and their seven children.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book which deals with so much including racial prejudice, financial hardship, determination, love, sacrifice and devotion.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason for the Advanced Readers Copy in return for an honest review.
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Brilliant insight into family and the dedication by the musical children and parents to nurture their talents. A compelling narrative of how parents emigrated from Sierra Leone and Antigua to the UK. How two very different upbringing of mother and father, how they met at university, the career progression before marriage and children came along. The juggle between time, money and attention in a large family. Working parent and full stay at home parents, the guilt the juggling and exhaustion but the love, cuddles and giggles.
The kindness and support of music teachers, school teachers, family and friends all respected and thanked in a truly humbling way. 
Thank you for sharing your world and the joy and dedication it takes to have not just one but multiple world class musicians in the household.
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I absolutely loved this book! It gripped me and I read it late into the night, only stopping temporarily when my eyes ached too much to continue. It’s a fascinating account of a lovely, talented family who devote their lives to music. It’s beautifully told by the mother, who has encouraged them and dedicated her own life to supporting their goals. I am in awe of the parents’ ability to raise seven musical children and to support each one individually by taking them to lessons, festivals and auditions and making sure they attend their concerts.  I loved the honesty and warmth of the book, the fact that the house was often chaotic, the wallpaper was peeling in places, carpets a little threadbare and children practising their instruments in the bathrooms! Sometimes important trains were missed and things didn’t go exactly to plan but shining through this book is the love of the parents for their hugely talented children. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again. A wonderful, uplifting book for these difficult times. It filled me with joy.  Very highly recommended.
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What a beautifully written joyous book which was such an uplifting read. It was such a pleasure to read and very interesting about an extraordinarily talented family. However, for me it wasn't just the talent which resonated off the page, it was the sheer overwhelming love within the family which sung out. I certainly will be recommending this for our library readers as not only is it a great read but very inspiring. Thank you for the preview copy
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The House of Music is an autobiographical book written by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason (the mother of the famous cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason). 

This was a really wonderful book! Kanneh-Mason writes of growing up, entering academia and becoming the mother to seven extremely talented children. She doesn’t shy away from the hardships but equally this book is brimming with joy. 
 
What struck me reading this is when we hear a piece of music played we focus on that moment, however for the musician to have reached that stage is often generations of work, a supportive background, a lot of dedication and determination and a whole community of people. 
 
While this book is largely about music what flows through the pages most is the theme of love. Love for music, maternal love for children, love of pure hard work, love for dreams and aspirations and love for and between a family. Such an incredible read! 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is  remarkable book by an incredible family. The Kenneh-Masons comprise of two amazing parents and their seven talented children. Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason tells the story of her family and the successes her children have had in the world of classical music, with influences from Welsh, Sierra Leone and Antigua as well as hard work and financial struggles.
Kanneh-Mason shares her experiences as a biracial child growing up in Essex and Wales after returning from Sierra Leone where she was born. How music was so important in her childhood - but also in her husband's life.
They are both high achievers with a strong work ethic and a can do mentality. And the book highlights, with honesty, the additional challenges black families still face in the classical music business.
Having highly gifted  children is a responsibility, and Kanneh-Mason explains the struggles of financing lessons, instruments, travel to the Junior Academy. This would be a challenge with one child, but SEVEN! Amazing! But she and her husband were totally committed to ensuring every child had the opportunities and support they needed. She quite rightly points out that 'means tested fees' for specialist music schools are based on household income without taking into account the number of children. And training as a classical musician takes a lot of dedication, time and expense.
The successes of the family are highlighted by Sheku; the third child, winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year, which is a launch pad for outstanding classical musicians. He now has a stellar career as well as having performed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. His eldest sister Isata is a highly successful pianist and recording artist for Decca, and brother Braimah is a notable violinist - and there are four more siblings to follow! And the irony is that playing as a family, they didn't get beyond the semi-finals of "Britain's Got Talent"; clearly their talent was too dazzling!
I loved this book and it shows the love of the family as well as for music. At no time does Kanneh-Mason compare the children but respects their talents and characters as individuals. That is a real gift.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand how to nurture talent. Anyone who loves classical music or wishes to understand how it works. Anyone who wants to appreciate and celebrate incredible talent from the black community. And anyone who wants to hear this story from a loving mother.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review.
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Would like to thank Netgalley.co.uk who provided me with an ARC of this story in return for an honest review. 

You may have heard of members of this family, you might have not. Regardless? This is a book you need to read. 

Now, I had to put this book down many times; not because the story was boring... but quite the opposite. I didn’t want to read this book when I had fleeting time- I wanted to make time for  this book. 

Kadiatu’s voice throughout is so powerful that you are gripped by so much emotion. From facing racial injustice the moment of arriving in England, and to the longing of family and cheer in Sierra Leonne- the story is an emotional read that needs to be heard. However, overall the theme is one of love, persistence, devotion- and overall? Music. 

‘How could a boy, just turned seventeen, feel all this and communicate it so powerfully through a cello?’ 

Although I do not wish to speak of specific plot lines (you most definitely need to pick up a copy yourself) , the book delves into many topics and time periods ; those of James returning home only to be amidst the happenings of the civil war, the racial bigotry of England, and the story of the author and her astounding strength and devotion to raising and empowering such incredibly gifted children. It’s a story of the struggles of music competition and the reward of being truly gifted and devoted. 

Honestly? If I could rate this more stars I would. An in-depth, beautifully written read.
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What an incredible read. 
I've noticed the Kanneh-Mason family on TV and on social media particularly as they are a Nottingham family local to me, but it was Sheku's performance at the Royal Wedding that really brought an admiration of what a phenomenal family they truly are. 
This book is written by Kadiatu, the matriarch of the family and I felt so bonded with her as I read her honest words and gentle perspective on her childhood, her family history, her career but particularly her journey in to motherhood; how difficult her pregnancies were and how the juggle to keep everything all going at once is beyond exhausting. She is truly a strong and intelligent woman who once you read her words you can understand entirely how the whole family are a phenomenon and absolutely gifted. 
Whether you are a classical music fan or not you can enjoy the story of this family and their "House of music" with its curling wallpaper, crumbling windowsills and all the chaos that seven children bring, but above all each child's determination, commitment and passion to pursue their dreams in every single room. This isn't a mansion fitted with gilded pianos and chandeliers, this is a simple home of sacrifice and struggles but, paradoxically, a remarkable one. 

I was humbled to read in the acknowledgement that the book is devoted to kindness and the generosity of others. 
Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason sums up the entire book so simply in her final written words of it "This is a tale of music, and, above all, this is a book about love.
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House of Music :Raising the Kanneh-Masons is an inspiring and interesting read. It shows the love, strength and bonds a close knit family has. It's a book that will have wide appeal especially for those with an appreciation for classical music.
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As a lover of classical music and a violinist, this was an easy choice.

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason chronicles her family's journey, via Sierra Leone and Antigua, to the present day, with seven gifted children. It hasn't always been easy and there have been sacrifices along the way, but the children have always been their parents' priority.

What you see is a picture of warmth, integrity, fun, and individual personalities allowed to shine within boundaries of loving family discipline and high expectations. All the siblings share with and support each other, and are deeply respectful of the gift they have in common.

Sheku, the second eldest son, won BBC Young Musician in 2016, and now has a stellar career as a cellist, as does elder sister Isata, a pianist. Although the main focus, inevitably, is on Sheku and Isata, Kadiatu is careful to ensure that all the children are mentioned. It is easy to see from her narrative where their love of life, joy, respect, and many other qualities emanate from.

It has been a joy to watch the Kanneh-Masons via the various TV documentaries and BBC Young Musician. I remember watching the final when Sheku won and being mesmerised by his performance. It was a joyous occasion, although fraught with nerves for Kadiatu.

Above all, the story of this family is about belief, being open to what life has to offer, and love. It is a story that should inspire many more young people to engage with classical music.

I was sent an advance review copy of this book by Oneworld Publications, in return for an honest appraisal.
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