SA flautist Wouter Kellerman bags Grammy nomination

Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej are nominated for a Grammy award in the category for best new age album of the year for their album, Winds of Samsara.

Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej are nominated for a Grammy award in the category for best new age album of the year for their album, Winds of Samsara.

All eyes will be on South African flautist Wouter Kellerman at this year’s 57th Grammy Awards, set to take place on February 8 2015 in Los Angeles. 

Kellerman is nominated for a Grammy award in the category for best new age album of the year for his collaborative album, Winds of Samsara, with Indian composer and producer Ricky Kej.

Kellerman’s accolades include a South African Music award (Sama) in 2011 for best instrumental album, for his album Two Voices, and another Sama award for best jazz/instrumental/popular classical DVD for his show Kellerman Colour Live in 2010. His work has been featured on the soundtrack of the 2006 National Geographic documentary film, Eye of the Leopard, which won an Emmy award in 2007. 

“I’m so excited about the nomination. It’s been a life-long dream for me and a validation that I’m on the right track,” he told the Mail & Guardian.

It took Kellerman and Kej two years to complete Winds of Samsara, which features 120 musicians and was recorded on five continents. The project started out as a tribute to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, with just two songs recorded, but it ended up being a big collaboration between South Africa and India.

Kellerman describes Winds of Samsara as “peaceful. It’s all about good energy, with world music influences.”

Kellerman, who can play both the bass and alto flutes, is a classically trained musician.

Kellerman started out by supporting himself professionally in dual careers, working as an electrical engineer while sidelining with the flute, including playing as principal flute in the National Youth Orchestra back in the 1980s.

His debut album, Colour, was released in 2008 and since then, he has earned his place in the spotlight, performing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival, the Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

According to Sheer Publishing, Kellerman is the first musician in South Africa to be ranked number one on the Billboard New Age Charts in the United States, with Winds of Samsara.

South African musicians who have been awarded a Grammy award include: the late Miriam Makeba (1965), Hugh Masekela (1968), Ladysmith Black Mambazo – who has bagged four in 1988, 2004, 2009 and 2013 – and the Soweto Gospel Choir (2007).

Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba

Hugh Masekela

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The Soweto Gospel Choir

Katlego Mkhwanazi

Katlego Mkhwanazi

Katlego Mkhwanazi is the Mail & Guardian's arts, culture and entertainment content producer. She started her career in magazines, before joining the Mail & Guardian team in 2014. She is an entertainer at heart. Read more from Katlego Mkhwanazi

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