Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

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

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories


Subscribers only

Seven years’ radio silence for taxpayer-funded Rhythm FM

Almost R50-million of taxpayers’ money has been invested but the station is yet to broadcast a single show

Q&A Sessions: Zanele Mbuyisa — For the love of people-centred...

She’s worked on one of the biggest class-action cases in South Africa and she’s taken on Uber: Zanele Mbuyisa speaks to Athandiwe Saba about advocating for the underrepresented, getting ‘old’ and transformation in the law fraternity

More top stories

Denel money woes clip air force’s wings

A senior officer says the shortage of spares and and ability to service aircraft and vehicles has a negative effect on the SANDF’s operational ability

State fails at-risk children as R55m orphanage stands empty

Boikagong Centre in Mahikeng has been closed for almost two years because it did not meet safety requirements. The discarded children say they want a safe place to learn, but instead endure rape and other violence

Wildlife farming vs Creecy’s panel

The departments of environment and agriculture legislation are at odds over modifying the genes of wild animals

Drugs and alcohol abuse rage in crime stats

Substance abuse has emerged as a reason for the spike in crimes during the first quarter of 2021.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…