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The colour of music

Award winning musician Wouter Kellerman is widely considered to be South Africa’s foremost flautist and he’s delighted to be making his debut at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz at the end of this month.

‘The colour of music is more important to me than the notes,” says Kellerman which is why he named his last album Colour. ‘Music is the colour of different cultures and also the different colours one can produce on the flute.”

Kellerman is a Jo’burg boy who has studied the flute with leading teachers here and abroad so he has a good grounding of the instrument’s idiosyncrasies, and through practice, he has developed an incredible technique.

It all started when he was 10 years old. His parents took him and his brother to a symphony concert, and they asked the boys which instrument they would like to play. His brother jumped in and chose the clarinet. Wouter noticed that the clarinet like other instruments is blown in front of the player but the flute is played sideways.

‘So I thought it must be a special instrument and I chose it. Plus I liked the idea of using my breath to make music! I’m very glad I did because of the flute’s versatility. You can obtain a beautiful classical tone or a jazz tone and you can get funky.”

Colour is a world music album using tango, flamenco, and Irish and African inspiration, even to the Jethro Tull use of just tapping the pads to obtain a percussive sound.

His show KellermanColour Live won the 2010 SAMA (South African Music Award) for Best Jazz/Instrumental/Popular Classical DVD.

He’ll be playing music from this at Joy of Jazz using guitarist Kenny Mathaba, bass guitarist Phresh Makhene, keyboards and vocalist Anneke Visagie le Roux, percussionist and voice Godfrey Mcina and drummer Rob Watson.

He explains that the tune titled Wind starts with a Spanish type of tune on bass flute, then the guitar takes over and eventually moves into a reggae beat.

‘Then there’s a tune that starts with water percussion played by Makhene with his hands on the surface of the water. On Khokho we make use of African vocal percussion with clicks and other sounds. Plus there’s flamenco, tango and jazz influences,” which seems to make for an very interesting, exciting and a fresh approach to music yet heard at the jazz fest.

Wouter played at the closing ceremony of the Fifa Soccer World Cup and he and the band opened MIDEM this year in Cannes. The next day the biggest photo on the front page was of him.

He used to get nervous playing classical music, which has to be perfect: ‘But now that I’m playing music from my heart I hardly get nervous. All I have to do is make beautiful music. It also helps that I have a good classical technique so anything that pops into my head I’m able to play with ease. I just follow my heart on stage!”

Wouter Kellerman performs on the Mbira Stage on Saturday, August 28 as part of Standard Bank Joy of Jazz

–Information supplied by Standard Bank Joy of Jazz

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