Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, mother of cellist superstar Sheku, has called for more support for music in schools.
Kadiatu, whose seven children are all talented musicians, said: “We’ve seen budgets shrinking and opportunities disappearing. It was always an academic subject which stimulated creative intelligence but it’s been dumbed down so it’s no longer a viable subject. Children will suffer, so will the industry as it will be even less diverse.” Speaking to Times Radio last night about her book House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons, she spoke about the sector.
“It was very white and it’s getting worse. I think classical musicians would welcome a bigger, more diverse audience, but it’s got to come from the bottom up. If you don’t see diversity, it doesn’t encourage people to go into that industry.”
She added that her children regard discussions about racial inequality “as a huge responsibility — particularly Sheku. He will play a concert and black children will come up to him afterwards and say, ‘you’re such an inspiration and the reason why I’m playing this instrument’ and that’s wonderful.” Sheku wowed the country with his cello playing at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Kadiatu confessed that raising seven musicians meant they practised in the bathroom, hallway and even the kitchen. “There was a lot of noise, but thankfully our neighbours were very tolerant and never complained.”
SIENNA MILLER, above, has another string to her bow. “I always cut everyone’s hair. It’s this weird skill that I have,” she told Vanity Fair. The actress added that during lockdown she was quarantined “with about eight people and I became the hairdresser for everybody” and performed “some pretty extreme cuts”. Well, if the acting doesn’t work out…
EWAN MCGREGOR, above, recalls an episode on the set of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He and Liam Neeson were “running out of steam” filming long fight scenes, he tells the Soundtracking podcast, so director George Lucas put on the Star Wars theme to gee them up. Neeson, McGregor says, turned to Lucas and told him icily: “No. Switch it off.” When the force isn’t with you.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, sighs to Politics Home as he recalls teaching Donald Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, above, at Oxford: “It doesn’t look as though she’s taken a lot of my politics to be fair”. You can say that again.
TORY MP Michael Fabricant heatedly asks: “What IS that flag behind that MP?” as Labour’s Liam Byrne is quizzed on BBC News. Fabricant maybe hoped it was the emblem of Venezuela. Alas, it’s Birmingham’s flag and Byrne is running to be mayor.