Kyle Shepherd is one of South Africa’s most celebrated pianists & composers of his generation.
Internationally recognised for his distinctive compositional style & performances, has made a huge impression on debut as a film score composer for the critically-acclaimed film, Noem My Skollie / Call Me Thief – South Africa’s official entry to the 2017 Academy Awards – for which he earned a nomination for the 2017 South African Film & Television Award [SAFTA] for Best Achievement in an Original Music Score in a Feature Film.
Fueled by his life-long passion for the movies & video games and fascination with the film-making process – coupled with his vast experience in composing and arranging music for creative collaborations with a diverse array of creative music, arts & culture practitioners – actors, film & theatre directors, photographers & dancers, composing music for film has been quite a natural transition for the prolific young composer.
“Emotionally driven melodies, atmospheric minimalism and textural soundscapes, underscoring a visual narrative, have always been something I’ve thought about as a serious avenue for music-making. While composing for film differs to composing for my own solo work, in that it offers the luxury of emotional anonymity, I feel very close to stories and visuals as a stimulus for composition. The scope of the script, vision of the director and performances of the actors and actresses, is what, to me, evokes the sound palette. When I hear music or read a script, my focus is on hearing or reading what is between the notes or words, paying close attention to the emotional disposition of the character in a scene. Then my job is to create sonic scaffolding for those emotions and to deliver it to the audience in the most understandable way regardless of the complexity of the on-screen narrative,” explains Shepherd.
“With his score of Noem My Skollie / Call Me Thief, Kyle Shepherd has forged the emotional spine on which the rest of the film’s emotional journey rests on. Sparse and delicate; haunting and melancholic – this aural journey permeates the inner life of a complex character. But it is never without hope – and in the end rewards us with a deep sense of cathartic resolution. If you don’t finish it with a lump in your throat, you don’t have a heart.” – Daryne Joshua (Director)
RECENT FILM PROJECTS
Presented by Youngblood Art & Culture Development at the Youngblood Art Gallery, Cape Town in May 2017, Shepherd and Lindsey Appolis (photographer) explored the city of Tokyo through sound and imagery. During this innovative live performance, projections of Appolis´ powerful images of the city of Tokyo, Japan, provided a sonic canvas for Shepherd´s masterful pianism and sound design. See Promo Video – www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eiq229hozDk
Film Score Composed by Kyle Shepherd
Produced by David Max Brown and Moshidi Motshegwa (Maxi-D Productions), Noem My Skollie / Call me Thief, a moving crime drama set in Cape Town in the late 60’s was written by John W. Fredericks and directed by Daryne Joshua. Released in September 2016, the film was South Africa’s official entry to the 2017 Annual Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and is also a nominee for the 2017 South African Film & Television Awards [SAFTA] for Best Film.
- Action Kommandant 
Featuring the following music tracks by Kyle Shepherd:Xam Premonitions, Cry of the Lonely, Doekom, The Seeker, Langarm, Senegal, Xahuri, Die Maan Skyn So Helder (Traditional), City Monk Desert Monk, Die Goema, Images of You, Cape Flats, & Dark Cities.
A documentary produced and directed by Nadine Cloete. Action Kommandant is based on the untold story of the young South African revolutionary freedom fighter, Ashley Kriel. The film made its international debut release to critical acclaim at the ‘Seattle International Film Festival’ in May 2016 and its local South African debut at the prestigious ‘Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival’ in June 2016 where it won the Festival audience award for Best South African Film following record screenings.
OTHER FILM CREDITS & FEATURES
Four Corners 
Featuring Bobbejaan / Minstrels Go to Court by Kyle Shepherd
A feature film, Directed by Ian Gabriel. Produced by Giant Films & Moonlighting Films. Four Corners is a multi-thread, coming of age crime drama set in a unique and volatile South African sub culture. At times raw and violent, at other times touching and true, the four lives of Farakhan, Leila, Tito and Gasant converge around Ricardo, weaving universal themes of love, loss, kinship, betrayal and redemption. It was South Africa’s official entry to the 2014 Annual Academy Awards in the category for Best Foreign Language Film.
Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat in Five Movements 
Featuring music by & interview with Kyle Shepherd
A documentary film, produced, filmed and directed by Angela Ramirez, Sara de Gouveia & Calum MacNaughton, Mama Goema explores the music & sound of Cape Town and its historical influences.
The Uprising of Hangberg 
Featuring Original Music by Kyle Shepherd
A documentary film by Dylan Valley & Aryan Kaganof. The film, a complex portrait of parallel lives thrust into violence, explores the aftermath of police brutality on the Hout Bay community.
The Exhibition of Vandalism 
Featuring music / sound improvisational performances by Kyle Shepherd & the late Zim Ngqawana
A documentary film, documenting a healing ceremony performed by Zim Ngqawana and Kyle Shepherd in the ravaged body of the Zimology Institute for higher learning in January 2010. The film was directed, filmed and edited by Aryan Kaganof of the African Noise Foundation.
Featuring Kyle Shepherd in music performances composed in collaboration with Jitsvinger, Blaq Pearl, Emile Jansen and Shane Cooper for the musical theatre production, Afrikaaps.
A documentary film by Dylan Valley based on the musical theatre production Afrikaaps, a Glasshouse / The Baxter Theatre production, directed by Catherine Henegan. Afrikaaps, is a cutting-edge contemporary hip-hopera about the story of Afrikaans, tracing its origins back to 1600’s and its evolution into the 21st century. It employs glitches, scratches, beats and rhymes to traverse time, whilst also referencing the rich musical landscape of traditional Cape styles like Ghoema and Kaapse Klopse.