These days, as it becomes increasingly difficult for musicians and composers to categorize their music, South African flautist Wouter Kellerman has come up with a theory.
"Musicians are listening wider than before, and all these influences are making their way into the music," he explained. "World music is a useful word to describe my [work.] I also like to say it's Roots music [with] a strong African feel, but it also has tango, flamenco, Irish and Latin influences."
The mixture works for Kellerman, who performs on Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage as part of his July and August U.S. tour. He is touring behind his newest album, "Two Voices,"
"My classical background has influenced the way I listen to music and make music," said Kellerman, who picked up the flute at the age of 10 and has appeared as a soloist with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra. "I make music with the same sense of subtlety that I played classical music with."
|» Where: Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW|
|» When: 6 p.m. Thursday|
|» Info: Free; 800-444-1324; 202-467-4600; kennedy-center.org|
For his Kennedy Center performance, Kellerman is bringing along singer and bassist Phresh Makhene, guitarist Michael Bester, keyboardist Jaconell Mouton and David Klassen on drums. Senegalese singer, percussionist and dancer Lamine Sonko also performs.
"We will start with 'Wind,' one of my own compositions, which has Spanish and reggae influences," Kellerman continued. "You will also hear some South African, Celtic and Senegalese songs."
As the concert progresses, audiences will be treated to a pair of beautiful African voices, "see" some water percussion and hear talking drums. There will even be some gumboot dancing.
Kellerman is currently working on his third album, and in August, he will be mixing it in Los Angeles with double Grammy-winning engineer Husky Hoskulds. The first two albums will be released in the U.S. during his present tour, with the third one following next year.
Call it classical and contemporary fusion, world or crossover music, there is only one feeling that moves the artist and compels a solid following in South Africa and soon, he hopes, global recognition.
"I try to express passion and emotions through music," Kellerman said. "For me, music is not an intellectual exercise -- I try to keep it simple and focus on the essence that moves you."