Shay’s teaching style is learning by repetition, so no background knowledge of music theory is necessary. He starts from the premise “If you can hum it, you can sing it”. In his “Expand Your Song Repertoire” class, Shay will teach 7-8 songs, providing handouts of each song. Participatory; all ages and skills.
Shay was born in Dublin, and is the eldest member of Ireland’s Black Family, which includes sisters Mary Black and Irish Senator Frances Black. After spending more than 40 years in Dublin and Liverpool immersed in the music of Ireland, Scotland and England, he moved to Berkeley, where he has lived since. From his time in Liverpool, he developed a particular interest in music of the sea and has toured and recorded with the illustrious Stan Hugill and the fabled sea shanty group Stormalong John and Irish band Garva. While living in the US, he continues to play and sing in a number of bands and currently teaches Folk Repertoire at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage. He tours in the US with his brother Michael as The Black Brothers.