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A TALL MLUNGU UYABANGENA

GOOD news tends to travel slow compared to the scandalous stuff that gets swiftly blown into the atmosphere. Think about the driver of a luxurious vehicle who made the headlines for his road rage antics last week.

Well, traveling at a snails pace is the story that a tall white South African male (we are obsessed with race and gender, are we not?) is making a great impression abroad, waving our nations cultural flag.

South Africa’s Wouter Kellerman and India’s Ricky Kej’ collaborative effort Winds of Samsara has been number one on the Billboard New Age album sales chart in the USA for a few weeks now. The album is also said to feature at No 18 on the all-category Billboard Heatseeker album sales chart which focuses on the week’s top-selling albums by new or developing acts, defined as those who have never appeared on the top 100 of the Billboard 200 or the top 10 of R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Country Albums, Latin Albums, Christian Albums or Gospel Albums

With alluring songs like Heaven is Here that has breathy vocals sung in whispery tones and has a breezy texture; it’s not surprising Winds of Samsara is being received with positive nods. Here’s is an album of well crafted, assembled and executed music  that soothingly lands on the ear, embrace and gently caress the soul and senses. It’s music with instantly gratifying qualities, the sound ingredient that grow on you and continue to linger in the soul for days to come. It’s music you never get tired of, the kind that allows you the freedom to come in and out of it as and when you please.

The album represents absolute human artistic excellence in an era where the growing trend is to heavily lean on computers and machines to be the “best” or a noted musicians or producer. Fantastic news is that there’s an opportunity to listen to the music on Kellerman’s webiste (http://www.wouterkellerman.net/listen) before buying the album. A listener with refined music tastes, especially for quality laid-back or what can be referred to as mood music, will most likely find the album to be to their liking. Winds of Samsara features 120 musicians and was recorded in L.A, Seattle, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Bangalore, Bulgaria. Full orchestras are features on most of the tracks.

Those that have witnessed Kellerman’s attempts at dancing (especially gumboot dance) will most certainly agree the man struggles to seamlessly flow with the beat. “I’ve been told I’m a bad dancer,” Kellerman once revealed in an interview. However you cannot fault the Joburg born musician when it comes to composing and performing stunning music. The man has got soul and he’s in with the groove. As witnessed in his previous albums -Colour, Two Voices and Mzansi- The South African Music Award  winning artist performs music that crosses over to a whole lot of genres – making it difficult to pin him into a single genre. To make things easy for scribes and all those who want to give sounds a name, he’s opted for a world music description.

“Lot’s of people struggle to put my music in a genre because it’s wide. That’s why stations like Classic FM, RSG, Kaya FM and Radio 2000 have been able to play-list music from my albums. I grew up listening to African music played by the women who looked after me,” said Kellerman in a previous interview with MusikMag Afrika.

 It is the variety in the flutist’s music that got a Los Angeles based Grammy-winning engineer, Husky Hoskulds (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman) excited about mixing his albums. The qualified electronic engineer who started playing the flute at ten and went on to study classical music; plays on the soundtrack of the Emmy Award-winning film Eye of the Leopard. Kellerman’s debut album, Colour, came out in 2007 and featured in the following year’s South African Music Award for ‘Best Instrumental Album’.The last few years have seen Kellerman performing in Berlin, Shangai, New York and Sydney.

Together with trumpeter David Longoria, he is scheduled to perform a special concert at the Grammy Museum on October 1. Grammy nominated pianist Vincent Lyn is also expected to join, for a performance, our tall white mlungu at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall on October 4, 2014. The news of Kellerman’s triumphs may take long to reach many ears, hopefully once they do they will be passed on and his music will be certain to linger on in the soul and memory- like a pleasant scent of lavender and roses.

“Winds of Samsara” is available on iTunes and at all record stores with a good tatse in music.

 About Ricky Kej

The Indian producer is tagged, by those that admire him, with a title such as ‘wizard of the keyboard, manuscript page, and recording studio.’ Kej composed original works for the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup 2012, held in Dhaka, India; was declared an “India Rules Artist” by VH1 in 2013 and has been nominated for a Cannes Advertising award for a jingle he wrote for Nike.

WIN ! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!

MusikMag Afrika has ten copies of Winds of Samsara to give away. To be entered in a draw to win simply subscribe to receive MusikMag Africa online and to be added on our mailing list. You will want to own this album. Good luck

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