• (L-R) American Soul, The Bobby Brown, Ella: BBC Vaults — NITV's Music for the Soul season (NITV)
From Nat King Cole to Gurrumul, from the Deep South to Arnhem Land, tune in and celebrate these incredible artists with an up-close and personal look at their lives and the challenges they have faced to produce sensational music for the world.
By
NITV Staff Writers

28 Nov 2019 - 4:15 PM  UPDATED 5 Dec 2019 - 12:11 PM

NEW SERIES (that will be your new TV obsession...)

 

American Soul

Premieres, Tuesday 17 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

Combing fictional and real-life characters and moments, American Soul tells the story of a young, ambitious and troubled entrepreneur who created Soul Train, one of the most predominant television shows for African-American culture.

Set in the early 1970s and filled with music, dance, fashion and glamour, the series reveals what it took to launch the first nationally-syndicated black music show and what happened when the music stopped. Through it all, 30-something Don Cornelius sacrifices all that he loves to follow his dream. 

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 80% (Audience Score)

 

FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES   

 

Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark

Sunday, 1 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

Featuring a never before seen archive and exclusive interviews, this candid account of the ‘fairytale’ life of Nat King Cole honours the journey of a true icon, revealing his feelings behind his calling as a “beacon of hope” to the oppressed.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100% (Audience Score)

 

Chuck Berry: The Original King of Rock 'n' Roll

Sunday, 8 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

In this highly anticipated feature-length documentary, the absolute instigator of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry, is truly revealed, with unprecedented exclusive access.*

 

Ella Fitzgerald: Best of the BBC Vaults 

Sunday, 15 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

Featuring two shows from 1965, and a performance live at Ronnie Scott’s from 1974; this is the timeless Ella Fitzgerald.

Performances include the classics “Take The ‘A’ Train”, “The Lady Is A Tramp”, “Mack The Knife”, and “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”.*

 

Jimmy Little's Gentle Journey

Monday, 23 December 7.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

A powerful documentary by Sean Kennedy telling the story of Jimmy Little’s life, from his tragic childhood to the star of Australian screen and song this is a deeply moving journey that defines and transcends the story of contemporary Aboriginal expression.

 

Sammy Davis Jr: I've Gotta Be Me 

Sunday, 22 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

“Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

 

If You Don't Know Me: The Story of Teddy Pendergrass

Sunday, 29 December 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

This is the story of legendary singer, Teddy Pendergrass, the man who was dubbed with the potential of being the biggest R&B artist of all time.

The story of a childhood in a Philadelphia ghetto; of the murders of his father and first manager; of sex, drugs, money and global fame; of the triumph against injustice; and of the tragic accident that changed his life forever, at the age of only 31.

Rotten Tomatoes rating 75% (Audience Score)

 

The Game: From the street to Wall Street

Sunday, 5 January 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

The film tells the story of Hip Hop culture conquering the world and today being a lifestyle and global business.

Featuring famous artists like 50 Cent, Ice T, Chuck D, Young Thug, Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, as well as the leading 'behind the scenes' engineers of this success, explain the mechanics of this accomplishment and project themselves into the digital future.

IMDb rating: 4 Stars

 

Westwind: Djalu's Legacy

Sunday, 12 January 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

Djalu Gurruwiwi is an aging Elder in a line 60,000 years long who is running out of time to pass on the Yidaki Songlines entrusted to him for the future of his people, before it dies with him.

His sons and community, struggling to come to terms with the consequences of colonisation, are lost. When Djalu breaks with tradition to try and save it, world-famous musician Gotye becomes an unexpected family member and helps heal Djalu’s sons and amplify his songs to the world.

IMDb rating: 7/10

 

GURRUMUL

Sunday, 19 January 8.30pm (and available on SBS On Demand)

Celebrated by audiences at home and abroad, Indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia.

Blind from birth, he found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. His breakthrough album Gurrumul brought him to a crossroads as audiences and artists around the world began to embrace his music. GURRUMUL is a portrait of an artist on the brink of global reverence.

IMDb rating: 4 Stars

 

FEATURE FILMS

 

Coal Miner's Daughter

Thursday, 12 December 8.30pm 

Raised in rural Kentucky poverty and married at the age of 13, Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek) begins writing and singing her own country songs in her early 20s.

With the tireless help of her husband Oliver "Mooney" Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones), Loretta rises from local honky-tonks and small-time record deals to national tours and hit singles, befriending her idol Patsy Cline (Beverly D'Angelo) and becoming a country music icon despite the toll stardom takes on her family and her marriage.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89% 

 

Buena Vista Social Club

Saturday, 14 December 8.30pm

The Oscar-nominated Buena Vista Social Club weaves artist biographies with a glimpse of modern Cuba remembering its past, capturing a lost culture in music that is suddenly, unexpectedly revived for audiences in Havana and around the world. A loving master class in Cuban music, with a vital cast of aging performers whose energy and passion belie their years.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%

 

Ray

Thursday, 19 December 8.30pm 

Ray is the triumphant and remarkable story of one of America's true musical geniuses, Ray Charles, featuring a tour de force, Academy Award-winning performance from Jamie Foxx as the blind prodigy.

From his humble beginnings in the South through his meteoric rise to the top of American music charts, Ray's inspirational journey is a tale of hope, redemption and the power of the human spirit. Witness the incredible true story of a musician who fought harder and went further than anyone could imagine. In addition to Foxx's win for best actor, Ray was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 80%

 

Get on Up

Thursday, 26 December 8.30pm 

A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 79%

 

Mo' Better Blues

Thursday, 2 January 8.30pm 

Financially irresponsible Giant (Spike Lee) manages a jazz group, but his sax player, Shadow (Wesley Snipes), wants to replace him with a better businessman.

Bleak (Denzel Washington), the band's trumpeter, then tries to defend his close pal Giant, leading to a power struggle between the two musicians. Meanwhile, as Bleak tries to straighten things out with his bandmates and manager, he also must choose to be with either sweet teacher Indigo (Joie Lee) or sultry singer Clarke (Cynda Williams).

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 73%

 

The Soloist

Thursday, 9 January 8.30pm

Los Angeles columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) has reached an impasse in his life. His marriage is on the rocks, and he's disillusioned with his job. Then, while wandering through L.A.'s Skid Row, he spots a homeless man (Jamie Foxx) playing a two-stringed violin with a virtuoso's skill.

Lopez initially thinks of the man, named Nathaniel Ayers, as just a story idea. But as he begins to unravel the mystery of Ayers' strange fate, Lopez realizes that a change is happening within himself

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 57%

 

Beyond the Lights

Thursday, 16 January 8.30pm

Though she's been groomed for stardom all her life by an overbearing mother (Minnie Driver), singer Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is having trouble dealing with her success. Battling with depression, Noni meets Kaz (Nate Parker), the police officer assigned to be her bodyguard. Noni and Kaz feel an instant attraction, but those in their orbit oppose the romance for fear the pair will stray from the course planned out for both of them.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83%

 

SERIES

Songs from the Inside

Sundays 7.30pm. Starts 1 December (and available on SBS On Demand)

Four musicians enter New Zealand prisons to teach songwriting and uncover bigger lessons as prisoners reveal the real stories behind their music

 

American Boyband

Saturdays, 8pm. Starts 8 December (and available on SBS On Demand)

Kevin Abstract wants to be a pop star. Along with his self-proclaimed boy band “Brockhampton” he is on a mission to translate his faithful online following into real-world success. 

IMDb rating: 4 stars

 

The Bobby Brown Story

Saturdays 8.30pm. Starts 11 January (and available on SBS On Demand)

The two-part miniseries follows Bobby Brown from the beginnings of his solo career to the heights of fame with songs such as “My Prerogative” to his music star royalty marriage with Whitney Houston, to the drug addictions that brought his career — and ultimately her life — to an end.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%

 

*No rating listed on Rotten Tomatoes or IMBb 

NITV is proud to present its Music Season programming slate, bringing the best in soul to audiences throughout December and January. Tune in on-air (Ch. 34), on Demand and check out what's online.