Primary Instrument: Flute
Wouter Kellerman's album Two Voices won the 2011 SAMA (South African Music Award, equivalent to the American Grammy) for 'Best Instrumental Album', reinforcing his status as one of South Africa's foremost musicians. A true crossover artist, Kellerman thrives on experimenting with the shades, textures and colours that his magic flute is capable of painting, and creatively blending them with other instrumentation and vocal sounds.
The SAMA-winning flute wizard, who performed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Closing Ceremony to a global television audience of 700-million people, has spent the past few years cooking up several potent compositions with an array of top South African and other African artists — and his latest album MZANSI is the result.
Mzansi will be released in the United States on September 10, 2013. Mzansi represents the voices of my influences — African and otherwise, he explains. Being influenced by different styles and cultures, and working with musicians who bring their own energy to the project, make this a very varied album — from traditional Sengalese songs to South African and Celtic influences.
Kellerman's debut album, Colour, enjoyed rave reviews, topped the charts and was nominated for a 2008 South African Music Award for 'Best Instrumental Album'. Three of his albums - Colour, Two Voices and Mzansi - were mixed in Los Angeles by Grammy-winning engineer Husky Hoskulds.
Wouter has travelled extensively over the last two years, performing around the globe in places like Berlin, Shanghai, New York and Sydney. His 2012 U.S. tour included appearances at the prestigious Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, at Summerstage and Joe's Pub in New York City, and at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. More recently, he performed his composition 'The Long Road' - a flute solo for Nelson Mandela, - on Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa for a stadium of 80,000 people and a television audience in August 2013. He also performed at the opening of MIDEM in Cannes, France; MIDEM is the world's largest music conference and festival and Kellerman was part of a Department of Arts and Culture delegation, representing South Africa.
In 2010 his show 'Kellerman Colour Live' won the 2010 SAMA for 'Best Jazz/Instrumental/Popular Classical DVD'. He followed his performance at the FIFA Soccer World Cup Closing Ceremony with concerts at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg and two performances at the Shanghai World Expo in China.
Passionate about teaching and empowering young people, Kellerman has sponsored the living expenses of ten children in the SOS Children's Village in Ennerdale, South Africa for the past 14 years; he has also financed the building of a house in the SOS Children's Village in Rustenburg, South Africa. For his continued efforts in helping give these children a better life, Kellerman was nominated by the SOS Children's Villages for the Inyathelo Special Recognition Award for Philanthropy. He continues to also facilitate the teaching of young dance and music students in his country.
Wouter Kellerman started playing the flute at the age of ten, and in 1981 appeared as a soloist with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra. He went on to feature in several South African orchestras, garnering numerous musical accolades along the way. Among these was winning the Perrenoud Foundation Prize during the 1997 Vienna International Music Competition.
Using his classical training as a foundation, Kellerman focused his attention on world music, exploring the versatility of the flute and fusing classical and contemporary sounds, resulting in a potent and thrilling musical encounter. He is taking his crossover world music to a global audience, having gained a solid following in his native South Africa. His albums have been released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, North America and most recently in Australia, where he combined his release with a nationwide tour, including an opening slot on Johnny Clegg's Down Under tour.
Kellerman's strikingly original flute-playing can be heard on the soundtrack of the Emmy Award-winning film, Eye of the Leopard.