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This CD is the fifth made by Wouter (pronounced vo-tur) Kellerman, a South African flutist. It's described as “world-fusion” and that seems like as good a genre description as anything. It showcases fascinating idiomatic and cultural mixtures. The African foundation is always present, but a lot of other things get thrown into Wouter's musical pot. The flutist has made an effort to assemble a variety of collaborators that take him in new musical directions.

The CD opens with “African Hornpipe,” a strange little number that fuses old Irish piping with a tribal stomp. “Malaika” is a cheerful Swahili song sung by Eunice Harris. “Khokho” is a highly complex presentation that rolls through changes of texture, melodic, or rhythmic material. Mama Tembu is an upbeat, jaunty reggae tune, with the lead sung by Lamine Sonko. “Cape Flats” is an introspective instrumental piece with a soft country-western back beat.

“After Hours” begins as a virtuous flute solo that leads into a little jazzy riff that is reminiscent of old Beatnik music, or perhaps old episodes of “Johnny Quest.” That flute and bongos combo is unmistakable. It moves into a slinky, Quincy Jones type jazz piece – nicely produced! Several unusual flute effects are demonstrated during the break down, which segues right into “N'Jarinu Garab.” This song has a Latin mambo flavor with the Afro-Cubano rhythmic complexity that makes this genre distinctive. Once again, Lamine Sonko stands in at the microphone. The lyrics are in Senegalese.

“Fire Drill” is program music – that is – a piece of music that tells a story. Here Wouter talks into the flute as he plays it, giving an unusually articulated sound. It's a great jazzy sound with awesome percussion work by Barry van Zyl and some hot piano licks from Melissa van der Spuy. Mongezi Mbele throws down some nice bass leads. “Semami” is an African song in Senegalese. The performance features Latin-style acoustic guitar by Erik Paliani. It comes at Afro-Cubano styles from another direction. “Mzansi” is the title track, written by Wouter Kellerman and Paul Carlos (guitar). The guitar and flute bounce back and forth between major and minor keys, which gives an interesting sense of dissonance. It grows in intensity and dramatic strength.

“Sylvia” features the singing of Phresh Makhene and water samples. It's a nice laid-back tune that constrasts well with the complexity of the previous number. A video of a performance of this song can be seen at:  “In The Moment” features Wouter beat-boxing on the flute. It's a solo number that gives the artist an opportunity to explore different melodic ideas. “Miniamba” is a traditional Mandinka song from West Africa. It has a strong Latin flavor with two guitars in the mix. It's a nice relaxing song to wrap up the album with.

Wouter Kellerman is a musical ambassador that has toured around the world. He plays a variety of flutes, mostly metal. This CD is a good mix of songs that features a lot of top-notch talent and good engineering – well done!

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Wouter Kellerman
2013 Kellerman music, 2013
13 tracks, CD includes insert with song descriptions and credits.
56:22 minutes.
Release: September 2013

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