Saxophonist YolanDa Brown brings her delicious fusion of reggae, jazz and soul to Gulbenkian.
For some, world-wide touring and critically acclaimed albums would be satisfaction enough. Not for YolanDa Brown, she wears many hats, musician, broadcaster, author and wears them well… with passion and full of vigour.
YolanDa is a double MOBO Award winning artist, her music a delicious fusion of reggae, jazz, and soul. She has toured with The Temptations, Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Billy Ocean and collaborated with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance, Kelly Jones from Stereophonics and Rick Astley. She is currently composing music for the iconic Sesame Street, animated series called Bea’s Block on Sky Kids, as well as the Netflix Series CocoMelon Lane.
She was awarded an OBE for services to music, music education and broadcasting in the 2023 New Year Honours List by his Majesty the King. In July 2022, YolanDa was appointed Chair of BPI (BRIT Awards, Mercury Prize). A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is Chair of Youth Music, sits on the Arts Council National Council, is a trustee of the PRS Foundation, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, on English Heritage’s Blue Plaque panel and sits on the advisory board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
A broadcaster, her eponymous series for CBeebies, “YolanDa’s Band Jam”, won the RTSNW award as Best Children’s Programme. For the BBC Proms she hosted the Ella and Dizzy Centenary, BBC Gospel Choir of the Year and Young Jazz Musician of the year.
On radio, she hosts YolanDa Brown on Saturday on Jazz FM, presents the best of classical music on Scala Radio on Sundays, and can be heard across BBC Radio 2 and Magic FM.
You may have also spotted her flexing her general knowledge muscles on such shows as: ‘Bridge of Lies’ with Ross Kemp, ‘The Hit List’, ‘House of Games’, ‘Celebrity Mastermind’, ‘Pointless Celebrities’ which she won. She even got to indulge her other passion of classic cars on ‘Celebrity Antiques Road Trip’, she was a sitter on ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ on Sky Arts.
An entrepreneur too, YolanDa launched the London Saxophone Festival in 2018, and is about to launch her own music venue and restaurant, Soul Mama, in 2024.
YolanDa loves to drive fast cars around racetracks in her spare time and can even rattle off a Rubik’s Cube in around five minutes (on a good day).
A true renaissance woman, continually scaling new heights in her diverse endeavours.