Still With The Music: My Autobiography
By: Karl Jenkins, Sam Jackson
Music is a language that speaks to us all. But the music of Sir Karl Jenkins transcends boundaries of style and genre, of geography, language and nationality to communicate a message of peace that has profoundly moved millions around the world.
Incorporating diverse influences from religious and historical texts, multicultural musical styles and, famously, a ‘vocalised’ language of sounds that speaks directly to the heart, Karl has written powerful works such as Adiemus and the iconic The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace that encompass the depth and breadth of human emotion.
From a modest upbringing in Penclawdd, Wales, steeped in the Welsh choral tradition and the Western classical canon, Karl followed his love of music to London, immersing himself in the 1960s jazz world of Ronnie Scott’s, before joining the seminal prog-rock group Soft Machine. These diverse influences made him one of the most successful composers in the dynamic advertising industry of the 1980s, ultimately leading to his landmark Adiemus project in the 1990s, which inspired him to create the works that have now moved so many.
As Karl says, ‘we all work with the same twelve notes’. Still with the Music is the story of how those twelve notes became something magical, a celebration of the power of music to bring joy, to inspire and to heal. Sir Karl Jenkins is that rare thing: a contemporary classical composer with enormous popular appeal, and one of Britain’s national treasures.
I know it’s a bit of a cliche but I enjoy reading autobiographies which take me on a journey, and it’s a real delight to travel along the route that Sir Karl has travelled as he made his way through the musical events which describe his life story. His love of music is obvious and this comes across in the warmth of his words and in the fine attention to the smallest detail, but it is in the love for his family and friends, and his enthusiastic affinity for his homeland, where he comes across so passionately … I really enjoyed reading this autobiography and now, whenever I listen to Karl Jenkins’ inspirational music, I will, undoubtedly be reminded of the man behind the music.
A well-written volume … Plus, some of the extra informational snippets are gems. He is the world’s most performed composer, so Karl Jenkins’ autobiography was always going to be a story worth telling – not least because his career trajectory has been such a colourful one.
- Charlotte Gardner, Sinfini.com