What's On: YolanDa Brown at Boisdale

By Rob Virtue on May 9, 2014 11:23 AM |

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Leading saxophonist YolanDa Brown is backing music taking a stronger role in education - but the 31-year-old Londoner admits she only achieved success by breaking the rules.

YolanDa, born in Barking, recently launched the YolanDa Brown Music Award giving four University of East London students up to £500 each.

She said funding is the best way to help youngsters make a success in the industry.

"My parents were able to invest in my instruments but some kids aren't able to get the equipment," said YolanDa, who is performing at Boisdale tonight.

"These funds really help and allow kids to get instruments and composers to gain knowledge."

A previous Mobo best jazz winner, YolanDa says more should be done in schools to help students excel in music.

"I do workshops on improvising," she said. "Music is a feeling. When at school I was taught to do the grades. There wasn't as much room for enjoying your music.

"I rebelled. I compare it to learning a language where you spend all your time learning the verbs and the tenses when really you just want to get out there and talk the language. It's about creativity and enjoying it."

And the sax stood out for her after trying other instruments.

"I picked it up, played it and found I could put my emotion into it.

"It also helps that it's easy to carry around, rather than a drum or a piano. I love taking it around with me. It's a very social instrument."

YolanDa is looking forward to her Canary Wharf date.

"I always seem to start a tour with Boisdale," she said. "It's a lovely venue. It's got wonderful food and a huge whisky bar and it's got fantastic music.

"There's always a fantastic audience and the gigs usually end up with everyone dancing which is great - although I'm not sure what the waiters think of that."

May 9, 7pm, £10-40, tickets.boisdale.co.uk