Cousin duo brings magic of South African music to Doha
April 24 2019 11:56 PM
PRESS MEET: Fom left, Callen Petersen and Jody Abel, members of the duo Acoustic Element; Faizel Moosa, Ambassor of South Africa, and his wife. Photos by Ram Chand

By Mudassir Raja

When cousins – Callen Petersen and Jody Abel – combined their musical talents, an extraordinary musical combination was born. Callen, who plays the violin, and Jody, who plays guitar and beatboxes, make up the dynamic musical duo – Acoustic Element.
Both of these young musicians are graduates from the University of Cape Town. With academic backgrounds that range from marketing to fashion, this creative duo has found their true passion in music.
The duo has a diverse repertoire and is able to adapt their genre to suit any desired style and taste. From pop and rock to jazz and smooth ballads, Acoustic Element is able to cater to any function. 
The young talented musicians from Cape Town, South Africa, are in Doha for the first time to perform for two days. The instrumentalist duo managed to draw the South African compatriots and other communities in large numbers in Dune Lounge at Grand Hyatt Hotel. 
The musical evening was named ‘African Sky Night.’ The duo enthralled the audience with their distinct music and rare talent. The visiting young instrumentalists will also perform today (April 25) during the 25th South African freedom day celebrations.
Faizel Moosa, ambassador of South Africa to Qatar, organised a press meet with the visiting performers at Nandos in The Pearl early yesterday.
Introducing the Acoustic Element, the ambassador said: “They are very much South African musicians. They have very successfully managed to fuse classical instruments with acoustic instruments. Through this fusion, they play very modern music that surprises all the listeners. The embassy has brought real talent from Cape Town, my home city. We have brought them here to give them exposure to the Doha music scene. They will promote South Africa in Qatar.”
Ambassador Moosa called their music a magic. “You [the instrumentalists] bring all new energy to the classical South African music. That’s what I think Qatar is doing [bringing energy to music]. The embassy is committed to bring young and new talent from South Africa to Qatar. We want to have a crossover between the talents from two countries. Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to take Qatari musicians to South Africa.”
The duo has been performing in different parts of the world. 
It is their first ever performance in Doha. “We landed today early morning. We have been at the airport of Qatar during transit many times but got no chance to visit the country. The architecture is great. We have received a very warm welcome,” said Jody.
Speaking about his music, he said: “We are quire diverse in our musical style. We can touch on any type of music from Jazz to Pop, and from dance to house music. We will test Doha audience out. We will play some popular songs, commercial hits with a little bit of South African flair – beatboxes.”
Callen said: “I started playing violin at the age of six. Together we started Acoustic Element in 2010. We are cousins and initially played together for fun at markets and malls. We have university degrees and worked in corporate sector before coming to music completely.”
He said: “We have performed in many countries including, Sweden, Greece, and UK. Later this year, we are planning to perform in Austria and Switzerland. This is our first time in the Middle East.”
When asked how they would explain their music, Callen said: “We call our music acoustic pop with instruments. It is a new music genre.”
When asked how much their music is appreciated in South Africa, Ambassador Moosa said: “It is different. It is using classical instruments together with acoustic instruments. It is different but very popular. It is very modern.
“I think music is important because it is the one language that brings people together. In our national history, we used music to bring people together. South Africa has a very diverse culture and I believe that through music we bring together all those diverse cultures so that we can move forward in the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation.
“I hope the residents of Doha will enjoy the spirit of South African music.” 

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