Abel Selaocoe

South Africa

Open-eared cellist with sense of adventure

Broadly speaking, the cello is an instrument that’s almost always the preserve of Western classical music, whether in an orchestra or string quartet. Abel Selaocoe doesn’t like such straitjackets. This is a man who’s on a mission to transport the cello further afield, to take it on the kind of adventures it’s never experienced before –encounters with jazz and beatboxing, for starters. Just to emphasise his different angle of approach, Abel also sings as he plays, adding an additional dimension to his compositions. Born in South Africa but now resident in Manchester, his debut album, Where Is Home? (Hae Ke Kae), is released later this year, with its overarching themes of refuge and belonging. According to Abel, the concept of ‘home’ “can be a spiritual place, it can be people, it came be solitude, it can be a routine”. Wherever it is, he’s found one particular way to get there. “I’ve learned to find my different homes through the cello.”