Discovering the music of Kyle Shepherd

    Artwork by William Kentridge entitled Undo, Unsay. It depicts a black typewriter, drawn in ink over four columns of newsprint.

    🎵 As part of the Sydney Opera House 50th Birthday celebrations there was a staging of South African artist/director William Kentridge’s amazing piece, Waiting for the Sibyl.

    Costume, dance, song, piano, animation, shadow-play. Is it actually an opera? Well I suppose you have to call it something, even though like much of Kentridge’s work it feels sui generis.

    There is layer upon layer of meaning and reference, exploring the uncertainty of fate in the face of certain mortality , from classical Greek mythology, to Calder’s mobiles, to a decidedly unstable art gallery, to Kentridge’s doppelganger, to ersatz South African gold mining, to Dante, to Dada, to the banality and profundity of communication. Wonderful singing in multiple languages led by Nhlanhla Mahlangu. Youtube has a preview of the piece from when it was first performed four years ago in Rome. Now though there’s also a prelude, a companion piece entitled The Moment Has Gone.

    Both these works, I believe, were co-written and performed by the jazz pianist Kyle Shepherd. Well worth a listen to Kyle’s oevre of jazz and film-score. And he reveals his creative process in a fascinating two-part talk at Johannesburg’s Centre for the Less Good Idea. Now here’s a rabbit hole I won’t be escaping from for a while.

    Image source: William Kentridge, Undo, Unsay (2012). Strauss&Co #music #SydneyOperaHouse

    An amazing Femi Kuti concert last night. The recordings are great but they don’t do justice to this band in person. The total confidence that everyone in the audience would be dancing and the complete fulfilment of that confidence.

    For two enthralling hours of Afrobeat Femi Kuti gave more energy than all his dancers put together - and they gave a huge amount of energy.

    There was a sax solo from Femi that was completely magical. I wouldn’t previously have called myself a fan but I was completely won over. It was a sublime night. Live music at its absolute best. 🎵

    Best albums of 2018

    Thanks to NPR’s list of great albums of the year, I found Jeremy Dutcher, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Spent a marvellous evening listening to this mesmerising album twice in a row. Since he’s won the Polaris Music Prize probably everyone in Canada already knows about it. If you haven’t heard it you should fix that at the earliest opportunity. 🎵


    [caption id="" align=“alignnone” width=“393”]Olivia Chaney - Shelter Olivia Chaney - Shelter[/caption]

    Really enjoying this. English song reimagined. The producer, Thomas Bartlett, has had a role in much of my favourite music. 🎵