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Christian Vander at the Fort en Jazz festival (Francheville, France) in 2009
He is known both for his unique songwriting, virtuosic drumming, and shrill falsetto improvisational/scat singing. His compositions fuse jazz, rock, classical and opera influences, and draw on the work of musicians as diverse as John Coltrane and Carl Orff. Vander's music is broadly classified as progressive rock, but the style is so unusual that it falls under its own category – an idiosyncratic style of music often referred to by fans as Zeuhl (which means "celestial" in Kobaïan, a constructed language devised by Vander and used exclusively by Magma). There have been several other bands who have incorporated Zeuhl stylings into their compositions, many of which are composed of ex-Magma members. Some of the more notable groups of this variety include Japanese duo Ruins, Magma offshoots Weidorje and Zao, and Belgian chamber rock outfit Univers Zero.
Christian Vander is the stepson of the famous French jazz piano player Maurice Vander (who was a long time sideman of the French singer Claude Nougaro).
Most of Vander and Magma's recorded work is still available through Vander's own record label, Seventh Records.
He was married to singer Stella Vander who released many EPs herself in the 1960s and has performed vocal duties for Magma since 1972.