Sheku Kanneh-Mason: First steps in fame

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Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason won BBC Young Musician in 2016 and performed at last year’s royal wedding. Pauline Harding witnesses him in his role as an ambassador for an educational music charity, and speaks to him about his short but intense career so far

It is 9am on a Friday morning and I am sitting on a plastic chair in a school gym hall, bathed in artificial yellow light, with more than a hundred children seated quietly on the floor before me. We’re at a primary school in Barbican, London, for a cello workshop being run by the educational charity London Music Masters (LMM). In front of us and many of the children’s parents is cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, one of the charity’s junior ambassadors, playing the Gigue from Bach’s First Cello Suite. The setting is surreal: one child wears two hair buns outlined with pink cupcake cases; others have green or red hair, or yellow mouse ears; another sports a mauve, sparkling unicorn horn. Nearby, a girl’s ponytail feeds up through a soda bottle pinned to the top of her head, then tumbles out through the lip into a cup clipped to the side. It is Crazy Hair Day here today, for BBC Children in Need, someone explains.

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