MUSIC HIGH FIVE: Keahnne Carlita Whitby shares favourite gigs

…where we hi-five local musical movers and shakers. We ask five questions to get to know the people who play regularly or contribute in other ways to Brixton’s live music scene. This month it’s the turn of  17-year-old Keahnne Carlita Whitby

Keahnne Carlita Whitby 17-year-old sax player

What do you do and where do you do it?

Around and about most people would recognise me as a saxophonist as that’s what I’ve been heavily passionate about since I picked it up just under a year ago, however I also play viola, clarinet and a few other instruments as well as sing. I’m currently in a project called Youthsayers which is run by Soothsayers in Brixton, I would say we’re an Afrobeat, reggae, jazz fusion band. I’m also a part of Kinetika Bloco, a carnival band in London and alongside many other groups I’m currently working on my own collective which is probably the most exciting thing.

Favourite memories of playing in Brixton?

My favourite gigs are always the ones in Brixton as the stage and the crowd feels like home, especially when I’m with the Youthsayers. A good one for me was Lambeth country show as its a celebration of the people, and the community which is so rich. We’ve also played Pop Brixton a couple of times and that’s always a party. One of my favourite memories is from our gig at Cross the Tracks which was in Brockwell Park – the stage was huge so we were able to really unapologetically bring the vibes!

What are you listening to at the moment?

I would say you’d usually find me listening to reggae, classical, jazz or Afrobeat tunes. I’m currently listening to a lot more music from all over Africa. I’m always returning to Ethiopian jazz as I love the sounds and style of playing, and so I get a lot of influence from Gétatchèw Mèkurya, Akalé Wubé and Mulatu Astatke’s music. I also listen to The Soothsayers daily and, of course, I’m constantly listening to classic jazz saxophonists to gain as much knowledge through the music as possible.

Favourite album of all time and why?

This is a hard one, but I’d say Human Nature by Soothsayers, honestly just because this album brings me so much joy, and there was a point where listening to the song Human Nature would literally turn my day around. I love the messages in this album and I think everyone needs a bit of the Soothsayers in their lives.

Where can we hear you next?

I’ll be playing at the Portico Gallery on Friday 30 August with Youthsayers Outernational Orchestra. This is definitely going to be a night to remember as we have a lot of other wicked acts opening. I’ve also got a lot of my own compositions which I’m working on which you’ll be able to hear very soon online and at my own solo gigs.

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