Venue: Nexus Cabaret, Lion Arts Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide
Season: One night only
Duration: 2hrs 30min
Award winning South African flautist, Wouter Kellerman, presented a superb concert to launch his latest CD, Two Voices. Playing a range of instruments, from bass flute, through concert flute, to a simple plastic, six hole fife. Kellerman brought Senegalese singer and percussionist, Lamine Sonko, and South African singer and bassist, Phresh Makhene, with him, adding Melbourne based guitarist Ben Hauptmann to complete the group for this concert. Hauptmann has been playing with them regularly, whenever they in Australia, for the last couple of years.
This was a very varied concert, with a number of Kellerman's own compositions alongside traditional tunes, and not only music from Africa. Among them, interestingly, was a piece he called Irish March, a slow and atmospheric version of the Irish tune, Brian Boru's March, a 6/8 march more often played as a lively jig in Irish music sessions. Retitled as African Hornpipes was a set of three Irish hornpipes consisting of Boys of Blue Hill, Harvest Home, and the three part Belfast Hornpipe. They were given a very different treatment, however fusing them with hints of classical flute technique and African rhythms initially created by only voices.
A stunning flute solo, In the Moment, includes beat box techniques he learned from the acclaimed American beat-boxing flautist, Greg Patillo. Kellerman has a great many techniques at his command from triple tonguing, to flutter tonguing, over blowing for a percussive effect, tapping hard on the keys for another percussion sound, singing while playing and more. He used these with great effect during the course of the concert.
The world of the Classics gets an update with Folies d'Espagne. written by Baroque composer Marin Marais and based on a folk tune, now given some exciting new variations. Duel is another beautiful piece for flute and guitar, initially copying each other then slowly expanding and becoming more complex as Kellerman and Hauptmann take turns in demonstrating their virtuosity and the capabilities of their instruments.
The tango music of Astor Piazzolla got a new treatment and there were jazz influences in some of the tunes but, in spite of all of the fusion, there was always that magical flute sound and infectious African rhythms that provided the linking force that ran through the concert. One great number followed another and, as an encore, a traditional gumboot dance closed the evening, with Kellerman and Sonko energetically performing to guitar and bass accompaniment. This was a terrific night of marvellous music that left the audience with sore hands from all the enthusiastic applause.
Needless to say, Lamine Sonko, Phresh Makhene and Ben Hauptmann are of the same high calibre of musician as Wouter Kellerman, making this a wonderful concert in all ways through the close interaction between them.
Get a copy of the Two Voices CD and his first CD, Colour, as well. Watch for him to return to Adelaide again and make sure you grab every chance to hear him live.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.