From a Bach Sarabande to jazz and folk songs from his homeland: South African cellist, singer and composer Abel Selaocoe is a virtuoso border crosser between cultures and will be a guest in the Klazzik series on November 27 with his Bantu Ensemble and the program "Ancestral Memories".
I chose the cello simply because it has this ability to express very diverse worlds. Also, there was an instrument that was somehow available in the township where I was learning – some instruments were not there, but a cello was. So, it was also by coincidence. But then I began to discover more things why I love the instrument.
As a child! I think really from birth, people around me were always singing. My parents, my brother, my sisters, they sang all the time. It's such a huge part of our culture. We use it for everything. It's like a remedy, like a healing medicine for different things: To take out anger, to show kindness, and to bring up a problem that we sometimes couldn't speak with words.
Like all creativity, music is in the ether and it's available for you to take. Sound is already waiting for you to hear it. It's just a matter of your perception. Sometimes you can really fine-tune yourself, like a radio, to find a way of thinking or a way of feeling that can transport you. Oftentimes, sound is one of the most important things for that. Creativity is forever here. We just have to put ourself in spaces where we can access it. And most of those spaces are silence or being alone.
When we make music, our goal is to be in the moment. As people, we're constantly thinking about what happened before or what's going to happen next. Therfore, it's really important to have time in your life when none of that is on your mind and you're nowhere else but in this place here and in this moment now. It’s such a good feeling and it's a difficult one to find, but I think it's an important purpose for humans.
We'll be playing a programme called “Ancestral Memories”: All humans have this ability to sing, as all of our ancestors have always done through time. So, together with the Bantu Ensemble, we will try to find this fabric that binds all of us together. Why do you sing, and why do I sing? Some of the answers to that can among the of the answers to questions about living a really fruitful life. We will come to Konzerthaus to celebrate that.
We'll be diving from the worlds of baroque music, of Haydn and Bach, into the very deep world of traditional South African music, rhythmic throat singing. There will be a lot of dance, and a lot of joy!
Abel Selaocoe with his composition "Ka Bohaleng" live at the OPUS KLASSIK 2023 Gala at Konzerthaus Berlin