Documentary

In the opening scene of Pavarotti, the new documentary by director Ron Howard, the popular tenor travels deep into the Amazon jungle in search of an old opera house where the great Enrico Caruso may have once sung.

The building is shuttered, but because he's Luciano Pavarotti the door is unlocked for him to belt out a few honeyed notes from the stage. His fabulous voice soars into the vast emptiness of the auditorium.

WXPN

Hosted by GRAMMY-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans, Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul illustrates the influence of Black gospel on early rock and soul music through in-depth interviews with historians and musicians, and a backdrop of gospel, rock and soul music. Listen on WRTI 90.1 on February 10, 17, 24, and March 3 from 8 to 9 AM.

Winold Reiss/Wikpedia Commons

Langston Hughes, an enduring icon of the Harlem Renaissance, is best-known for his written work, which wedded his fierce dedication to social justice with his belief in the transformative power of the word. But he was a music lover, too, and some of the works he was most proud of were collaborations with composers and musicians.

Greenwich Entertainment

The film looks beyond the 16-time Grammy-winning musician to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel, and the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability.

The complex story behind one of the most recorded songs in the "Great American Songbook" is the basis for a documentary being screened on Thursday, November 9th during this year's Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.

It's hard to believe, but September 23rd marks 91 years since the birth of John Coltrane, who left us way too soon in 1967 at age 40; that makes 50 years since his passing. So it's a good time, we think, to gather together and remember one of Philadelphia’s favorite former residents.

WRTI 90.1 will feature the five-hour radio documentary Tell Me How Long Trane’s Been Gone, produced by Temple University and WRTI alumnus Steve Rowland, from September 20th through the 24th, every night from 8 until 9 pm.

The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared 2017 Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
 


There's no shortage of poignant moments in I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin's mesmerizing new documentary about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. One moment, about half an hour into the film, has stuck with me since I first saw it, lingering like an afterimage or the hook from a song.

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwinds, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

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