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The Hills Are Alive
With The Kanneh-Masons 

Britain’s most gifted musical family, Nottingham’s Kanneh-Masons, visit Austria to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood’s most famous musical family, the Von Trapps from The Sound of Music.

For this one off special, all nine members of the Kanneh-Mason family (including Mum Kadie and Dad Stuart) visit the key movie locations and explore the incredible story behind the film.  Within the documentary, the seven young Kanneh-Masons also perform their own arrangements of iconic music from the great soundtrack, including ‘Climb Every Mountain’, ‘My Favourite Things’, ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Edelweiss’.  

The Sound of Music is one of the most commercially successful films of all time, telling the remarkable story of the Von Trapps - seven brothers and sisters from Salzburg who formed a famous choral group in 1930s, survived the Nazi-occupation of Austria and escaped to the USA in 1939.  

Alongside their passion for music, there are obvious parallels between the Kanneh-Masons and the Von Trapps, notably the sibling structure of two brothers and five sisters.  Although the Kanneh-Masons are older than the Von Trapps were in the film - their ages range from mid-twenties down to the early years of senior school; Isata is 27, Braimah 26, Sheku 24 and Konya 23, followed by Jeneba (21), Aminata (18) and Mariatu (14) - they’re all great fans of this classic family film.  


Businessman Stuart has often been branded ‘Captain Von Trapp’ because he’s the Dad of seven such musical children. And Mum Kadie (Kadiatu) published an award-winning book in 2020, The House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masons, which was partly inspired by Maria Augusta Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.  

At home and onstage the Kanneh-Masons perform closely together and, like the Von Trapps, music plays a vitally important role in their everyday lives; they’re all talented musicians and at least four of them have already become internationally-renowned classical soloists.  Isata and Sheku were stars of this year’s BBC Proms and, back in 2019, the whole family performed ‘Carnival Of The Animals’ at the 2021 Proms. Famously Cellist Sheku was 

the first diverse state-educated winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year and he also performed at the Sussex’s Royal wedding.

A Musical Family Christmas With The Kanneh-Masons

Spend Christmas with the wonderfully talented Kanneh-Mason family…seven brothers and sisters (aged 12 to 25) who are taking the classical music world by storm. 


Coming home to Nottingham to celebrate, the family decorate the house, enjoy festive food, practice music, reminisce about Christmases past and play charades and games. Their unique seasonal celebration is an exciting fusion of family traditions from the UK, Sierra Leone and the Caribbean. And of course they perform their favourite Xmas music such as ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, ‘We Three Kings’, ‘Santa Baby’, ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ and ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’. 


With number one classical albums in the USA and the UK, having performed ‘Carnival of the Animals’ as a family at this year’s BBC Proms, and with Royal wedding cellist Sheku recently awarded an MBE, the whole family reflect on their amazing year.  Featuring interviews with all the Kanneh-Masons, including Dad Stuart and Mum Kadie, plus access to previously-unseen home movie footage illustrating the children’s extraordinary development as state school infants from a diverse background into international stars of classical music.  

Former Spice Girl Geri Horner looks back on the 1990s and reflects on her own incredible journey from working-class Watford girl to international superstar. She describes it as a decade of hope and opportunity that gave young people the freedom to be themselves and break down barriers.  


Set against a backdrop of great political and social change, including the release of Nelson Mandela, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the election of New Labour, the 1990s was also a decade which saw a homegrown cultural revolution. The music and art scenes exploded, and suddenly Britain was the place to be. Britpop and Girl Power conquered the charts, and Geri herself became the iconic face of Cool Britannia in her famous Union Jack dress.  


But fame didn't arrive until the mid-1990s for Geri, and she reflects on the key events that shaped her life before becoming part of one of the most successful girl bands of all time. She talks movingly about the death of her father, her close friendship with her pop idol pin-up George Michael and recalls how supportive he was when she left the Spice Girls and embarked on her solo career.

Geri’s 1990s:
My Drive To Freedom

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Founder and artistic director of the Chineke! orchestra – Britain’s first BAME orchestra - double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE is passionate about rediscovering the lost works of black classical music. One of her lifelong inspirations has been black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Widely known as the ‘African Mahler’ his most celebrated composition was Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, a huge classical hit in Britain and the USA in the first half of the 20th Century, performed every year at London’s Royal Albert Hall. But despite his early success he suffered racism throughout his career, received few royalties for his work and died penniless aged only 37. 

On her journey Chi-chi Nwanoku visits locations central to the composer's life, including the Royal College of Music where he studied violin and composition, his home in Croydon and his grave in Surrey. She meets surviving relatives and talks with black composers influenced by his work. Travelling to the USA, she discovers that his fame survives there through schools and organisations named after him in Washington DC, Kentucky and Maryland.  

This programme was shortlisted for a Creative Diversity Network Award 2019. Nominated in the 'Disrupter' category which celebrates a piece of work that disrupts the way the industry views or tackles an issue.

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