Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 May 2018:
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a musical genius born of a Sierra Leonean mother and a Caribbean father, has done it again. In 2016, aged seventeen, he was crowned Britain’s Best Young Musician of the Year by the BBC. Sheku, now 19 years old, plays the cello like no other teenager. His virtuosity is astounding. And yesterday, Sheku’s immense talent was seen at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
His skill, grace and verve as a classical musician have earned him the recognition as one of the best cellist in the world today, fit to entertain kings and queens, as he performed three pieces by Faure, Schubert and Maria Theresia von Paradis.
The Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be remembered as a spectacular, fairytale moment in 21st Century history, which brought in matrimony – a British Royal Prince and an African-American former actress.
Meghan Markle who became famous playing the character Rachel Zane in the US legal drama ‘Suits’, is the first African – American in modern history to marry into the British Royal family. And so too will Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s Royal performance go down in history as the first musician of Sierra Leonean – Caribbean origin to perform at a British Royal wedding.
The Royal wedding also had a touch of Commonwealth significance, with the bride’s flowing veil embroidered with flowers from each of the 53 Commonwealth nations – including Sierra Leone.
Sheku’s musical genius enthralled six hundred people gathered at the wedding ceremony in the 15th Century-built St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, including celebrities from all over the world.
Once the Archbishop of Canterbury had proclaimed Prince Harry and Meghan husband and wife, Sheku and his ensemble took centre stage, serenading the couple and their guests as they signed the marriage register, witnessed by the Queen, Prince Charles and Meghan’s mother – Doria Ragland.
Performing in front of millions at such an auspicious gathering of Royals and world’s top celebrities, is a challenge few veteran musical virtuosos could pull off with such grace and skill, let alone a teenenger who is sure to soon hit the top of the classical music charts with massive record sales.
Sheku’s brilliant performance, which captivated so many yesterday, has cemented his place in the annals of classical music history.
Just a few weeks ago, when asked how he felt about being asked to perform at the Royal wedding, Sheku said: “I’m so excited and honoured to perform at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course, I immediately said yes!!! What a privilege. I can’t wait!”
And yesterday, Sheku was joined in making history by Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American to deliver a sermon at a British Royal wedding ceremony. Bishop Michael Curry is the Primate of the US Episcopal Church.
His sermon about the power of Love brought class, spiritual harmony and meaning to the Royal wedding ceremony, as he so eloquently and dramatically invoked the words of the Black Civil Rights leader – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”
And so too will the Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir be recorded in history as the first Black Choir to perform at a British Royal wedding ceremony, as they serenaded a billion people watching live on TV – all over the world, with their version of Ben E King’s soul classic – ‘Stand by Me’ and Etta James’ beautiful song – ‘This little light of mine’.
Sheku’s latest album – titled: Inspiration, is truly an inspiration. It captures the musical genius of a young man who is set to become one of the best classical musicians of our time. The album includes a rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and Shostakovich’s – ‘Nocturne’ – from The Gadfly Suite.
Nothing against your wonderful musician Sheku, but why the royals and your colonial master on the frontpage of Sierra Leone news?
Whenever I see or hear a Sierra Leonean name in those kind of circumstances, my skin reacts as a proud Salone man. A very local Salone name is a very positive way to sell Sierra Leone and I hope our leaders are willing to give everyone a fair chance of success.
Sheku is talented and got the opportunity to exhibit his talents which I think should be emulated by our leaders.
Always Love Salone
Yesterday was a beautiful day. The newly weds had such beautiful weather too and everything went without a hitch. Congratulations to Harry and Meghan.
Sheku and his siblings are an inspiration to many youngsters.
Sheku’s performance at the royal wedding yesterday was poised and relaxed and the music was a joy to listen to. I felt very proud to be a Sierra Leonean.
This young man has a fantastic future ahead of him.