Kyra Shaughnessy has never had your average career path. Raised with a deep respect and connection to the land, in a multilingual environment, daughter of two alternative medicine practitioners with roots criss-crossing from India to Ireland, her identity as an artist is nourished by an uncommon diversity of experience.
After her first open mic at Casa del Popolo in 2002 she was invited, at age 15, to participate in the CBC National poetry slam in the Festival Voix d’Ameriques. After several successful years in Montreal’s spoken word scene (including two consecutive years on the Montreal Mirror’s top ten list, performances in the POP Montreal festival, Blue Metropolis, etc.) Kyra decided to try her hand at song writing.
The result? A folk-roots blend defined by warm, intimate vocals and the unmistakable depth and authenticity of her poet’s pen. Often compared to the likes of Joan Baez and Ani DiFranco, Kyra’s music artfully combines elements of “political folk” and sacred songs to captivate audiences of all ages and all walks of life.
Kyra released her first EP, One Step Closer, in 2009. This was quickly followed by a full-length self-titled album in 2010. Guitar and banjo in hand, she took to the road for several tours across Canada by bus and by train as part of the ViaRail Onboard Entertainment program. A song writing workshop on the Aran Islands in Ireland with accomplished singer-songwriter Brett Perkins in 2011 allowed her to further hone her craft and led to performances in Ireland, Denmark and Austria.
Inspired by her many travels and an ever-deepening sense of “global citizenry”, Kyra released her third collection, Waiting for the Light, in 2013 before being accepted to the renowned École Nationale de la Chanson in Granby, QC, where she spent 10 months perfecting her French song writing skills.
In March 2014 she participated in Manawan 2014, a pilot project led by Peace Partners bringing together Quebec and First Nations artists for a week of collaborative song writing and cultural exchange.
It was during this project that Kyra was introduced to singer-songwriter and producer Dany Placard. With the support of the CALQ (Conseil des arts et des Lettres du Québec) she and Dany recorded her fourth album, Passage, which she released in May 2016.
Passage is a mix of Quebec, Irish and West African traditions, with songs in French, English and Irish Gaelic. The result is what some would call “folk-roots fusion” — a harmonious blend of cello, kora, piano and percussion, an album that is both eminently personal and resolutely universal.