The Kanneh-Masons, Michael Morpurgo, Olivia Colman


Album review

“The Kanneh-Mason siblings have sometimes performed in groups, but this project is unusual in that it brings them all together, including 11-year-old Mariatu Kanneh-Mason, who appears as a narrator in the poem Grandpa Christmas, by poet Michael Morpurgo. The whole thing involves a lot of moving parts. Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals is among the few works in the repertory that can include the whole family, augmented by friends and associates, and Morpurgo is represented not only by his popular Grandpa Christmas but by a new set of narrations for Carnival of the Animals, read by the poet himself. Various writers have furnished these, including, most famously, Ogden Nash, but Morpurgo's contributions do not talk down to children and can stand with any of them. More inventive still is the Grandpa Christmas treatment, which is interspersed among little animal and nature portraits by various composers, with Eric Whitacre's lovely The Seal Lullaby as a calming finale. In effect, the program creates a second Carnival of the Animals, which is saying a lot. The final instrumental Redemption Song of Bob Marley is in the nature of an encore. At any point, this project could have become forced or contrived, and it is to the credit of these young performers that this does not occur: the entire thing has a relaxed feeling of discovery. Without a doubt, the children's album of the year, and one that brings smiles in short supply when the album was released in 2020.”

Album review provided by TiVo. This content is not produced by Primephonic, and any views expressed are the review author’s own.

Record label



    6 November 2020


    4 August 2020

    Recording location

    Abbey Road, Studio 2, London

    Producer, Executive Producer

    Dominic Fyfe


    Jonathan Allen

    Recording Engineer, Mixer

    Jonathan Allen

    Assistant Recording Engineer

    Daniel Hayden

    Mastering Engineer

    Andrew Walter