YolanDa Brown, born to Jamaican parents in Barking, London, England (4 October 1982), is a British saxophonist and composer.
A past student of Bancroft's School, Beal High School and the University of Kent, Kent Business School in Canterbury, England and the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain. Her Undergraduate Master's Dissertation was on "Combining SSM (Soft systems methodology) and DESM (Discrete event simulation) in an Athletics Club." She also fronted a TV talk show on a Sky Channel and appeared in inspirational idents for BET network.(Black Entertainment Television)
She is a 2008 MOBO"Best Jazz" winner and UMA nominee. In 2009, YolanDa became the first musician to not only be nominated in the "Best Jazz" category of the MOBO's in consecutive years, but also the first to win it two years running. In 2009 she also won "Best Jazz" at the UMA's.
YolanDa has worked with musicians such as Monty Alexander, Ramon Vallé,Michel Camilo, Hilario Duran, Dean Fraser, Byard Lancaster,Sonny Bradshaw,Otis Williams and the Temptations along with their manager Shelly Berger.
As a solo artist/saxophonist has worked in genres from straight ahead jazz to grime, performing front and centre alongside various artists including Sway DaSafo, Bashy, Omar Lye-Fook, Soweto Kinch, Alexander O'Neal, Mica Paris, Terri Walker, Dean Fraser, Sonny Bradshaw and Desi Jones, to name but a few. In late 2008, she toured the UK, opening for The Temptations.
YolanDa's pivotal performances of 2010 included an invitation to take part in PanJazz 2010 on its transfer from the Lincoln Center in New York to the UK This saw her performing alongside musicians including Etienne Charles and Leon Foster Thomas. Her 19 November concert at IndigO2 at the O2 Arena, London continued her record of musically excellent and uniquely entertaining sold out events.
On 2 December 2010, YolanDa was presented with an Honorary Doctor of the Arts by the University of East London in a ceremony at the Barbican Theatre, London.
For YolanDa music has always been a therapeutic and enabling force which promotes 360 degree communication and empowering links across all humankind. In striving to share and involve the many rather than an elite few through the wonder of music, YolanDa was honoured to become a Celebrity Ambassador for HRH The Prince of Wales and His Prince's Trust Charity.
YolanDa is a Yamaha endorsed artist and was also appointed the UK's class band ambassador in February 2011. Yamaha Class Band is a whole-class wind band teaching method, currently being piloted, until July 2012, in a collaboration between Yamaha UK and two of the UK's leading music services.
YolanDa is also a Patron of The Mayor of London's Fund for Young Musicians,which provides outstanding progression and development opportunities to young people who demonstrate significant musical talent and commitment.
In February 2012 YolanDa released her first album. Remaining an independent artist, YolanDa kicked off a UK and overseas tour in support of the album with two benchmark concerts at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo accompanied by her full band and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. At the end of the year, April Showers May Flowers was listed as an album of the year on the UK iTunes "Best Jazz Album of 2012" list.