Watch Imagine: This House Is Full Of Music, a documentary presenting a unique and intimate portrait of the exceptionally gifted musical family the Kanneh-Masons, on BBC Four on Sunday 29 August 2021 at 7pm. 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 and pianist Isata, 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 recorded 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.
After winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016 cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason 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, released in July 2019. She recently released her second solo album Summertime, a diverse exploration of the music landscape of 20th century America.
First family album Carnival
The Kanneh-Masons released their first family album Carnival, a very special collaboration featuring all seven gifted Kanneh-Mason siblings, Academy Award-winning actor Olivia Colman, and children’s author Michael Morpurgo, in November 2020. The recording includes new poems written by War Horse author Morpurgo to accompany French composer Saint-Saëns’ humorous musical suite Carnival of the Animals which features amusing portraits of different animals through descriptive musical motifs. The Kanneh-Masons will perform Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals at the BBC Proms on Sunday 29 August 2021.
Watch Imagine: This House Is Full Of Music, a documentary on the exceptionally gifted musical family the Kanneh-Masons, on BBC Four on Sunday 29 August 2021 at 7pm followed by their performance of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals at the BBC Proms at 8pm.
The Kanneh-Masons’ album Carnival can be bought here.