A BBC One documentary presenting a unique and intimate portrait of the exceptionally gifted musical family the Kanneh-Masons will be broadcast on Sunday 12 July at 6pm. The documentary, which is part of Alan Yentob’s Imagine… series, explores the Kanneh-Masons’ music-making and their family life during lockdown. The programme culminates in a moving concert that is a testament to the power of music to carry us through the most difficult of times.
Imagine: This House Is Full Of Music is the first ‘remote access’ Imagine film. The BBC used fixed rig cameras installed in the family’s house that were remotely operated, and video messaging to capture interviews.
The Kanneh-Masons are seven brothers and sisters, including cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, who have become famous around the world for their incredible musical talent. Ever since lockdown began the young prodigies, aged from 10 to 24, have been isolated in the family home in Nottingham along with their parents Stuart and Kadiatu. Unable to perform publicly, the family decided to stage a vibrant and eclectic concert in the only place they can – their own home.
During the lockdown the Kanneh-Masons have been recording regular Facebook Lives on Sheku’s Facebook page including a chamber performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and a moving tribute to George Floyd.
Award-winning cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason is still an undergraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he balances international performing commitments with full-time study. After winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016 Sheku signed to Decca Classics in 2017 and released his Classical BRIT award-winning debut album, Inspiration, in January 2018 which topped the Classical Album Chart and peaked at No.11 in the Official UK Album Chart. He performed at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018 which was watched around the world by 2 billion people.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason became the first cellist in chart history to land a place in the UK Official Album Chart Top 10 when his latest album, Elgar, entered at No. 8 in January 2020. Elgar – which includes the composer’s famous Cello Concerto recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Simon Rattle – also reached the top of the UK Classical Artist Chart, giving Sheku his second classical No.1 album.
Sheku’s sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, also topped the UK Official Classical Artist chart with her debut album Romance, a portrait of the life of composer and pianist Clara Schumann. Isata enjoys a successful career as a solo artist throughout the UK and internationally and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music.
Watch BBC One’s documentary of the exceptionally gifted musical family the Kanneh-Masons during lockdown on Sunday 12 July at 6pm.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s album Elgar can be bought here.