The Ndlovu Youth Choir and Wouter Kellerman’s version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You is taking South Africa and the world by storm! The track, which was arranged by Ndlovu Youth Choir musical director Ralf Schmitt and award-winning flautist, composer and producer Wouter Kellerman, was released on 28 September 2018 on all digital platforms.
The official music video, which was filmed in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg, followed shortly thereafter.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us,” says Schmitt. “The song has exploded on social media and we have had incredible feedback from all around the world”
Kellerman, who worked closely with the choir in the production of the track, is no stranger to awards. He is a seven-time SAMA (South African Music Award) winner, and in 2015 he became the first individual South African artist to win a Grammy® after Mariam Makeba in 1966.
“It’s been such a privilege to work with the choir,” he says. “When I first heard them, I fell in love with their sound. They have so much talent, enthusiasm and spirit – and it’s really infectious! Each child spreads hope and a message that anything is possible.”
The Ndlovu Youth Choir is part of the Ndlovu Care Group and is based in the Moutse village in South Africa’s Limpopo province. It’s a remote, rural area, about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg – and about as far removed from the Los Angeles music scene as you’re likely to get.
“Youth unemployment in the area is extremely high, and one of our goals is to create jobs through art,” explains Schmitt. “The collaboration with Wouter Kellerman has given us access to a huge international audience, which will help us to expand our global appeal. We have seen a considerable uptick in booking enquiries in the short time since the release. Obviously South Africans and people from further afield have realised that we have a world-class act right here at home and are keen to hear the choir singing live!
“The benefits of this collaboration go beyond the realms of music. The interaction and synergy between the choristers and Wouter are a testament to Nelson Mandela’s dream of youth empowerment and togetherness.”