The UK's first reggae youth choir, Reggae Roots, was selected to perform for King Charles as part of the recent Coronation Choir. The 300-strong Coronation Choir was a key part in the Coronation Concert, which performed on the second day of coronation celebrations (Sunday 7th May 2023). 

The concert was staged on the East Lawn of Windsor Castle and featured the Coronation Choir and an array of stars including Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

The Coronation Choir brought together singers from across the UK, including refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs. Reggae Roots featured in the BBC’s documentary Sing For The King: The Search for the Coronation Choir – telling the story of how the choir was assembled (find it available here). 

We caught up with the Reggae Roots choir to hear first hand what it was like to perform for the King.

Andrea Minos Menlah:

"“It was an amazing experience!! Tiring but amazing. I personally was able to do so many things for the first time, but what makes it so special is that I was able to do it with my friends and the people that shared my passions. We were all able to meet amazing people from the choir, everyone was so nice to us and cheered for us even though we never met each other. On behalf of the group I can say that we were al overwhelmed with joy!!! We got to see how its really like to set up a festival, how much work, commitment and teamwork is needed in these events and thanks to that we were able to develop our skills.

"The 20k people that we performed in front of didn’t scared us, it actually made us realised how far we’ve come us a choir and gave us the power to show who Reggae Roots truly are! We were able to meet our favourite celebrities which it’s still crazy to think about and while were in the tent we sang together and everyone felt our vibe and started singing with us.

"Overall It was very challenging, but I’m so proud of us as we were able to pull it through no matter how hard it was. This was definitely a once in a life time experience, and a big step for Reggae Roots, I can’t wait to see what’s to come!!!!”


Silvia Otokhagua:

"This experience was amazing, I feel really grateful that you guys included me even though I've just joined the choir, the people were very nice from my choir and from the rest of the choirs, but especially from my choir I feel like this has helped me to get more open with everyone and to get to know everyone better, I was really comfortable and I had a great time with a lot of laughs and joking around.

"I wouldn't Have imagined being in such a situation, if someone told me I was going to cross Katy Perry, Calum Scott and Ncuti Gatwa some weeks ago I wouldn't have believed it.

"My first time being in a huge crowd was amazing, the people cheering up the vibes, the lights, the decorations... everything, I was amazed. The staff, christella, Sheila, Selina and on, they were very supportive, kind and patient with us, it's not easy to deal with a group of teenagers and they did it fantastically. It's a memory I'm going to have with me always and a memory that I'm going to be grateful for always."

Sheila Howarth: 

"Being the founder of Reggae Roots I could not have been more prouder of a group of young people. Yes it was hard work and stressful being in that environment it shows you what it would be like to be a professional artist . GCF have given you the skills needed to be successful. I really enjoy working with you all can’t wait for our next adventure."

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund & Leeds City Council through the arts@leeds programme.