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Award-winning SA flautist Wouter Kellerman hopes to add another accolade to his name after Grammy nomination

South African flautist Wouter Kellerman has been nominated for a Grammy award. Supplied image.

South African flautist Wouter Kellerman has been nominated for a Grammy award. Supplied image.

Published Dec 4, 2021


Johannesburg - Wouter Kellerman is no stranger to the Grammy Awards.

Having won a Grammy before and having been nominated previously, the flautist, producer, and composer has become a regular on the prestigious Grammy roster.

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But the feeling of seeing your name on the list of nominees for the prestigious awards never gets old, admits Kellerman.

This time he’s been nominated in the category of Best New Age Album for Pangaea, a collaboration with American composer and music producer David Arkenstone.

Wouter Kellerman’s new album Pangaea has been nominated for a Grammy Award. Supplied image.

Kellerman, who is based in the US, said he was thrilled by the nomination.

“I'm over the moon,” Kellerman told the Saturday Star.

“As an artist, you often make the music in a bit of a vacuum, especially during the pandemic. So to hear that people are connecting to the music and my peers are valuing the music, means the world to me.

“We're so grateful for the nomination! We’ve penned the new music to express the hope that our fractured and divided world can forge a new identity where we stand and work together. A world where other’s interests are as important as your own, as if we were one like in the super continent Pangaea – it’s the Spring of a New Age, new beginnings indeed. We look forward to taking your imagination on an adventure.”

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The flautist isn’t the only South African to have been nominated this year.

He is joined by his countryman, renowned international DJ Black Coffee, who’s been nominated in the Best Dance/Electronic Album category for his latest album titled Subconsciously.

Kellerman says he was always confident that the album Pangaea would do well, and he is so grateful for the recognition.

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“I felt that there had been a creative spark between the two myself and (Arkenstone) and that we had created something special. It was lovely to work with David – he is incredibly musical, and we share a passion for imaginative music.”

The flautist won a Grammy Award for his 2014 album Winds Of Samsara, making him just the second individual South African artist to win the prestigious award.

“It is an absolutely incredible feeling. It is the highest international award in music, kind of equivalent to a sporting world cup, so it absolutely was a dream come true for me.”

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He has also revealed what it was like to attend a Grammy awards ceremony.

“It’s quite special. It is a whole week of celebration and networking events. People come from all over the world to attend, so it’s the ideal place to catch up with other musicians and discuss possible future projects together.”

Kellerman has proved to be one of South Africa’s foremost musicians since launching his debut album Colour in 2008.

Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman of Winds of Samsara hold the award for Best New Age Album at the 57th annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California, USA, 8 February 2015. EPA/PAUL BUCK

In 2010, he performed at the Fifa World Cup closing ceremony to a global television audience of 700-million people.

Winds Of Samsara also debuted at Number one on the US New Age Billboard charts, spending 11 weeks in the Top 10 and has been nominated in the Best Contemporary Instrumental category in 2015 as well.

At home, he has been the recipient of eight SAMAS.

Kellerman also composed the song The Long Road, a solo flute piece that Wouter wrote for Nelson Mandela, which won the 2016 Global Peace Song Award in the Acoustic/ Contemporary Music category.

Wouter’s composition Soweto Travels won first prize in the instrumental category of the 2018 USA Songwriting Competition.

In 2018, Kellerman collaborated with the Ndlovu Youth Choir (a rural choir based in Moutse, Limpopo, South Africa) to help showcase their talent – together, they created a South African version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You.

Grammy Nomination for SA's Very Own Wouter Kellerman. Supplied image.

The song became an internet sensation, with tens of millions of views, and winning awards like the HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Award) for ‘Best Independent Music Video’ - pushing the Ndlovu Youth Choir firmly into the international limelight and all the way to the 2019 finals of America’s Got Talent.

He’s also performed in places like Berlin, Shanghai, Delhi and Sydney, including three sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

He credits his success to the hard work he has put in over the years.

“I’ve worked very hard, have only taken a handful of days off over the last 15 years, and have taken more than 100 overseas trips in the 10 years before the pandemic. I think it has helped to be a perfectionist, and these days you have to also spend a lot of time on the business side of music to be successful.”

But the artist admits he never imagined being as successful as he is today.

“I never thought a Grammy win was in my future. Winning a Grammy has to be the highlight of my career, along with performing for 700 million people at the closing ceremony of the Soccer World Cup here in Johannesburg in 2010.”