Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason joins singer Gary Barlow for a sensational duet on ‘Hallelujah’

25 February 2021, 11:47 | Updated: 25 February 2021, 11:58

Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Gary Barlow duet on ‘Hallelujah’
Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Gary Barlow duet on ‘Hallelujah’. Picture: YouTube / Gary Barlow

By Sian Moore

When an exciting young cellist meets a seasoned pop star, and the music is just sublime...

It’s the classical-pop crossover we didn’t know we needed: Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Gary Barlow performing a duet together.

The young cello star recently joined the Take That singer for a delightful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, in an unexpected virtual collaboration.

Their duet was the latest instalment in Barlow’s ‘Crooner Sessions’, a series of performances the singer has been sharing for fans throughout the pandemic.

But instead of the usual pop stars gracing his digital stage, Gary’s latest guest was the Nottingham-born virtuoso. And what a duet it was...

Read more: Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s family: everything you need to know about the Kanneh-Masons >

Gary Barlow performs with Sheku Kanneh-Mason

The fusion of classical and pop from both musicians is a real treat, and something that fans of both genres seemingly can’t get enough of.

Organist and conductor Anna Lapwood tweeted: “YES. What a fantastic way to encourage people to engage with classical music – breaking down the barriers between pop/classical and showing that what is important is that you're musicians – and musicians who can communicate so much emotion in 4 minutes! Thank you to both of you.”

Read more: Sheku Kanneh-Mason: ‘Classical music isn’t racist. It’s about access to music education’ >

“Soulful song, soulful cello, soulful singer. Perfect,” another user wrote.

The 1984 pop song was chosen by Sheku himself – and it’s a song we already know the musician favours.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason - Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah, arr. Tom Hodge

Three years ago Sheku gave another stunning rendition of the pop favourite, arranged by composer Tom Hodge (watch above).

And who can forget his moving performance of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (watch below), which swiftly swept the Internet and became a worldwide hit?

Read more: There are more young cellists in 2020 than ever, thanks to the ‘Sheku effect’ >

Sheku Kanneh-Mason plays 'No Woman No Cry'

Last year, Sheku made history by becoming the first cellist to reach the top 10 in the UK album chart, in a landmark moment for classical and pop music.

The young cellist’s widespread appeal, coined as ‘the Sheku effect’, is even inspiring a whole new generation of young string instrumentalists.

“I really hope this sparks a wider interest in this amazing genre of music,” the virtuoso said of his latest duet.