IN 2002 Israeli producer and engineer Shay Leon launched his professional recording studio Shay’s Studio in Leitrim village, outside Loughrea.
Two years later he produced a compilation album of up-and-coming Galway-based singer-songwriters, such as Lucas, Ultan Conlon, Charis, Sabrina Dinan, Ciaran Cunningham, and Dave Morrissey, entitled Real. The album was lauded by Hotpress and Cluas.
Recent years have seen virtuoso accordion player Joe Burke, drummer and percussionist Jim Higgins (ex The Stunning and Saw Doctors ), and award-winning poet/songwriter Fred Johnston all record at the studio.
“I worked on several occasions in Shay’s Studio,” says Fred Johnson. “It’s a great place to work, great atmosphere; great too to work with a guy who is interested in music. Shay is a musician himself, which always helps. I would recommend Shay’s Studio without hesitation.”
Many have complimented the professionalism of Shay’s approach and his willingness to give amateurs as well as more seasoned performers an airing. The studio was designed by one of the world’s best acoustic experts and Shay has lots of top sound equipment at his disposal.
Grammy Award-winning engineer and author Bob Katz (who has worked with Taj Mahal to Gram Parsons ) describes the studio as “an exemplary, natural recording space.”
A few years ago Shay began working with the Galway Multicultural Community Choir on a project called Sean agus Nua. The recordings were a celebration of the cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic elements of the current Galway music scene.
According to a Hotpress review “this is a more compelling mix of music from many nations than that bloody Eurovision.” The genesis of that project eventually became a Galway City Council Arts Office-sponsored initiative titled Seanua. The album features music from Ireland, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, America, India, and Nigeria played by fresh new groups such as Intinn, The Bahh Band, and The Big Sing.
Intinn is fronted by Cian Finn (son of De Dannan founder Alec and artist Leonie ) and they play a unique blend of reggae, dub, and jungle rhythms. The group recently featured in a special The Irish Times’ Ticket section on Irish reggae/ska. Music journalist Tony Clayton-Lea outlined that Intinn “write and sing about social topics and the relevance of history and politics”.
The Bahh Band have delighted audiences over the last three years with their blend Indian classical music, blues, and rock. In October this year they released their much-anticipated debut album. Maja Elliott is a pianist, singer and composer of Swedish, Irish and English descent. She has toured extensively since her teens and has performed with Anthony Hegarty and Joan Wasser.
This is just a selection of the multi-cultural talent on Shay Leon-produced Seanua album. For more information or to order a copy see www.seanua.org