YolanDa is a broadcaster and musician known for her effervescent energy, passion and curiosity. As a presenter she has hosted Young Jazz Musician of the Year and Last Night of the Proms From Around the UK for BBC Four. She also hosts the award winning eponymous series Yolanda’s Band Jam for Cbeebies which guides 5-7 year olds through tempo, rhythm and other musical disciplines in an inspirational show full of surprises and amazing musical guests. In 2019 the first series won a RTSNW award for Best Children’s Programme and the second series broadcast in early 2020.
Passionate about all forms of music in 2019 Yolanda presented a handful of films for Proms Encore including a look at how Sir Henry Wood championed female composers and musicians and his lasting influence on the classical music scene today. Yolanda has also hosted live coverage of Proms including the Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie Prom in 2017.
Over on the airways, Yolanda presents Saturday afternoons on Jazz FM and has also covered Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation and Vanessa Feltz’s Early Breakfast on BBC Radio 2. She is also regular guest presenter on Radio 4’s Loose Ends and has presented documentations for the station. You can even hear her on board British Airways flights as the host of their Gospel Show and Inflight Live Sessions where she hosts a mix of interviews and live performances. You may have also spotted her flexing her general knowledge muscles on such shows as Richard Osman’s House of Games, Mastermind and Gareth Malone’s All Star Music Quiz.
Yolanda is also a world-renowned, self-taught, MOBO award winning saxophonist and in 2019 brought the New Year in with Jools Holland on Hootananny where she duetted with Rick Astley and Kelly Jones.
Her first album April Showers, May Flowers won her two consecutive MOBO awards for “Best Jazz” as well as an Urban Music Award. Her second album Love, Politics, War was released in 2017 and saw her mixing reggae, jazz and soul to creature a hugely unique and sumptuous sound.
A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is chair of Youth Music as well as a patron of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians. She champions music for children in challenging circumstances and strives to bring music education to wider audiences in a fun and accessible way working closely with BBC Education on live shows, series and events to bring more music into schools. She is also working on a few book and show ideas specially designed to develop the love of music into younger audiences.
On top of all of this YolanDa loves to drive fast cars around race tracks in her spare time – if you can seriously imagine her having any – and can even rattle off a Rubik’s Cube in around five minutes (on a good day).