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Wouter Kellerman

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Wouter Kellerman
Born (1961-09-20) 20 September 1961 (age 62)
Johannesburg, South Africa
GenresWorld, Roots, Classical, Jazz, Instrumental
Occupation(s)Musician, Composer & Producer
Instrument(s)Flute, "c" flute (traverse flute), Bass Flute, Fife, Alto Flute, Bansuri (Indian Flute)
Years active1981–present

Wouter Kellerman (born 20 September 1961) is a two-time Grammy Award-winning[1] South African flautist, producer and composer who has won nine South African Music Awards.[2] Classically trained, Kellerman performs primarily World and Roots music.

Kellerman received a Grammy Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards[3] for his 2014 album Winds of Samsara, a collaboration with Indian composer and producer Ricky Kej. Winds of Samsara reached No. 1 on the US New Age Album Billboard Charts[4] and also peaked at No. 1 on the ZMR (Zone Music Reporter)[5] Top 100 Radio Airplay Chart in the month of July 2014.

Kellerman's Love Language (2015) received a Grammy nomination[6] for 'Best Contemporary Instrumental Album', and won a SAMA for 'Best Instrumental and/or Classical Album'.[7] It debuted at No. 1 on the World Music Billboard charts in July 2015.[8] This album also featured at No. 1 on the ZMR Top 100 International Radio Airplay Chart in August 2015,[9] and spent 11 weeks in the CMJ New World Top 40 Chart, peaking at No. 12.

His next project was a collaboration with the Soweto Gospel Choir, Symphonic Soweto – A Tribute to Nelson Mandela.[10] The album re-conceptualised traditional music, freedom songs (including Mandela favourite, “Lizalis’idinga”) and popular songs by South African legends (including Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube and Miriam Makeba), from a symphonic and choral perspective – as part of honouring Nelson Mandela in the year he would have celebrated his 100th birthday. Symphonic Soweto won the 2018 SAMA for Best Adult Contemporary Album – Kellerman's seventh SAMA recognition.[11] From Symphonic Soweto, Kellerman's collaborative composition Soweto Travels won the USA Songwriting Competition for Best Instrumental Composition in 2017.

As part of his mission to work with and uplift children, Kellerman collaborated with the Ndlovu Youth Choir (a rural choir based in Moutse in the Limpopo province of South Africa) in 2018. Their African version of Ed Sheeran's Shape of You became an internet sensation, going viral with tens of millions of views on social media,[12] and winning awards like the HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Awards) for 'Best Independent Music Video'[13] – pushing the Ndlovu Youth Choir firmly into the international limelight. This resulted in America's Got Talent scouting the choir to enter the 2019 competition. Ndlovu went ahead and delivered a sensational first few rounds, going all the way through to the finals of the competition, showcasing South African music and spirit in the process. Their collaboration is part of Kellerman's 2019 album In A Different Light[14], in which he re-imagines and re-shapes some of his favourite melodies by approaching them from a fresh angle.

Kellerman received his third Grammy nomination for Pangaea, his collaborative album with David Arkenstone in 2021[15] and his fourth Grammy nomination and his second win in 2023 for his song Bayethe, with South African artists Nomcebo Zikode and Zakes Bantwini in the Best Global Music Performance category.[16]

Performance highlights[edit]

  • Kellerman performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Soccer World Cup for 700 million people.[17]
  • Performed at the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg in 2010,[18] 2016[19] and 2022.[20]
  • Performed at the 2017 Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.[21]
  • Performed at the South African/Russia Cultural Season in St Petersburg in Russia in November 2017[22]
  • Performed at the 2010 Expo in Shanghai, China[23]
  • Performed at the 2010 opening of Midem in Cannes, France. Midem is the world's biggest music conference.[24]
  • Performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in 2012[25] and 2015
  • Performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC in October 2014,[26] October 2015[27][28] and November 2019[29][30]
  • Performed at the Woodford Folk Festival in Australia in 2013/2014[31]
  • Performed at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in Jodhpur, India in October 2015[32] and 2018[33]
  • Performed for the President of India in December 2015[34]
  • Performed in Johannesburg for the visiting Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and a television audience of more than 200 million people in June 2016.[35]
  • Performed in Kuwait at the Al Yarmouk Theater on 17 April 2019, at a show coordinated by the South African Embassy.[36]
  • Performed at the Dubai Expo in Dubai in October 2021, opening Heritage Week for South Africa.[37]
  • Performed as soloist with the South African Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in December 2022[38]
  • Performed an intimate hour-long concert for 9 people only, which included the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of China Xi Jinping, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in August 2023.[39]
  • Performed at the BRICS Gala Dinner for 55 heads of state in August 2023.[40]

Kellerman's flute-playing can be heard on the soundtrack of the Emmy Award-winning film Eye of the Leopard.[citation needed]


Kellerman has sponsored the living expenses of 10 children in the SOS Children's Village in Ennerdale, South Africa for the past 20 years and has also financed the building of a house in the SOS Children's Village in Rustenburg. For his continued efforts in helping give these children a better life, Kellerman was nominated by the SOS Children's Villages for the 2007 Inyathelo Special Recognition Award for Philanthropy.[41] He continues to facilitate the teaching of young dance and music students.

Kellerman provided the seed funding for the Keiskamma Music Academy in the Eastern Cape, founded by fellow flautist, Helen Vosloo.[42]

Wouter has worked closely and performs regularly with the charity 67 Blankets For Nelson Mandela.[43]

Kellerman recorded a song called 'Homeland' for Refugees awareness in March 2022[44] and performed on 10 December 2020 for the NPO Turquoise Harmony Institute to raise awareness of the plight of refugees[45]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result Ref.
2007 Wouter Kellerman Inyathelo Special Recognition Award for Philanthropy Nominated [46]
2008 South African Music Award (SAMA) for 'Colour' – 'Best Instrumental Album' Nominated
2010 SAMA for Best Instrumental/Jazz/popular Classical DVD for Live in Mzansi Won [47]
2011 SAMA for Best Instrumental Album for Two Voices Won [48]
2013 Vox Pop IMA (Independent Music Award) for Best World Beat Album for 'Mzansi' Won [49]
2014 HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Awards): World Music and New Age Nominated
2015 Wouter Kellerman / Ricky Kej 57th Annual Grammy Award for 'Best New Age Album' for 'Winds of Samsara' Won [15]
Wouter Kellerman SAMA for 'Best Instrumental Album' for 'Winds of Samsara' Won
SAMA for 'Best Producer of the Year' for 'Winds of Samsara' Won
SAMA for 'Best International Achievement' Won
ZMR award for Best World Album for 'Winds of Samsara' Won [50]
ZMR award for Album of the Year for 'Winds of Samsara' Won [51]
2016 58th Grammy Award for 'Best Contemporary Instrumental Album' for 'Love Language' Nominated [52][6]
ZMR award for Best World Album for 'Love Language' Nominated [53]
SAMA for 'Best Instrumental and/or Classical Album' for 'Love Language' Won [54]
Global Peace Song Award in the public voted Acoustic/ Contemporary Music category Won [55]
2017 Wouter Kellerman / Soweto Gospel Choir HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Awards): Best World Music Song and Best Music Video Nominated
Wouter Kellerman USA Songwriting Competition – Best Instrumental Composition Won [56]
2018 Wouter Kellerman / Soweto Gospel Choir SAMA for 'Best Adult Contemporary Album' for 'Symphonic Soweto, a Tribute to Nelson Mandela' Won [57]
2019 Wouter Kellerman / Ndlovu Youth Choir HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Award) for Independent Music Video Won [58]
2020 Wouter Kellerman IMA (Independent Music Awards) for Best Social Action Video for 'Baroque to the Rescue' (feat. Konshens The MC and Lady Zamar) Won [59]
IMA (Independent Music Awards) Best Concept Album for 'In A Different Light' Nominated [60]
IMA (Independent Music Awards) Best Producer of an Instrumental Album for 'In A Different Light' Nominated [60]
IMA (Independent Music Awards) Best Social Action Song for 'Baroque to the Rescue' (feat. Konshens The MC and Lady Zamar) Nominated [60]
IMA (Independent Music Awards) Best Performance Video for 'Shape of You' (feat. Ndlovu Youth Choir) Nominated [60]
SAMA for the 'Best Produced Album of the Year' for 'In A Different Light' Nominated [61]
Wouter Kellerman Nominated [62]
Wouter Kellerman/ Nadia Shpachenko HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Award) for 'Catching Up' Nominated [63]
Wouter Kellerman/ Mzansi Youth Choir HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Award) for 'Best Independent Music Video' for 'The Climb' Nominated [64]
2021 Wouter Kellerman SAMA for 'Best Classical/Instrumental Album' for We’ve Known All Times Won
2021 Wouter Kellerman/David Arkenstone 64th GRAMMY Award for 'Best New Age Album' for 'Pangaea' Nominated [65]
2022 Wouter Kellerman/Nomcebo Zikode/Zakes Bantwini 65th GRAMMY Award for 'Best Global Music Performance' for 'Bayethe' Won [15]
2023 Wouter Kellerman SAMA 29 International Achievement Won


  • Colour (2007)
  • Two Voices (2010)
  • Half Moon (2012)
  • Mzansi (2013)
  • Winds of Samsara (2014)
  • Love Language (2015)
  • Symphonic Soweto, a Tribute to Nelson Mandela (2017)
  • In A Different Light (2019)
  • We've Known All Times (2020)
  • Pangaea (2021)


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  40. ^ Kellerman, Wouter [@wouterkellerman] (24 August 2023). "Such a thrill to preform at BRICS Summit Gala dinner for more than 54 heads of state including the Presidents of Brazil, India, China and South Africa" (Tweet) – via Twitter.[1]
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External links[edit]