Kyle Shepherd gives SA concert

2011-11-24 12:11
Waldo Müller
Cape Town - The trio of the much-lauded jazz pianist, SAMA-nominated Kyle Shepherd, will give a one-night performance in Cape Town this weekend before they head to Japan for a series of concerts there.

Shepherd recently returned from successful shows in the Netherlands as part of the Afrikaaps theatre production, an award-winning musical that celebrates the Afrikaans of Cape Town’s coloured people and presents the language’s history from a black perspective.

Horn player Mark Fransman will be the special guest artist on Saturday night when the Kyle Shepherd Trio takes the stage at the UCT College of Music. Fransman is not only a leading instrumentalist who has played with big names like Pharoah Sanders, Finley Quaye en Winston Mankunku but also a distinguished music producer for the likes of Jimmy Dludlu.

Kyle Shepherd is only 24 but has already performed (apart from the Netherlands) in Belgium, Botswana, Denmark, France, Malaysia, Mozambique, Norway, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. 

His third album, South African History X, will be released early next year in both South Africa and the United States. Shepherd is a prolific composer who writes most of his music himself. He also plays the alto sax and the xaru, a traditional Khoisan mouth bow.

The other members of Shepherd’s trio are Shane Cooper (double bass) and Jonno Sweetman (drums). Cooper was also part of Afrikaaps, of which Shepherd was die musical director. Between them, Shepherd and Cooper provided the musical accompaniments for the theatre piece. Cape film maker Dylan Valley produced a 52-minute documentary about Afrikaaps, of which the trailer can be seen here.

One of the highlights of Afrikaaps was Shepherd's jazz version of the traditional Afrikaans song, Die maan skyn so helder, a rare opportunity to hear him sing and a track originally off his debut album, fineART.

Watch the video here:

Zim Ngqawana, the internationally acclaimed South African jazz maestro who passed away earlier this year, features on a track on Shepherd’s upcoming third album. It will also contain a jazz version of the traditional Afrikaans song Bobbejaan klim die berg.

Ngqawana, who was Shepherd’s mentor, wrote in the cover notes of his debut album: "Authenticity is another word for originality and this is clearly evident in Kyle's compositions, arrangements and improvisation. He has managed to find a balance between the intellect and intuition. Kyle is a meditator and a poet."

Ngqawana and Abdullah Ibrahim are major influences for Shepherd. His mother, Michele, played violin in Ibrahim's ensemble and some of the very first music Shepherd was exposed to as a baby and child was Ibrahim’s virtuoso jazz during rehearsals in which his mother participated.

Tickets for Saturday's show are R80 (R50 for students and pensioners) and can be booked at 072 351 5204. Bookings are essential due to previous Shepherd shows having sold out. The UCT College of Music is on the hill directly behind the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch.