shmuSOUND links Aberdeen/Hungary

Aiysha Jebali writes about her experiences recording at the shmuSOUND studio

Woodside resident Aiysha Jebali tells us about her experience of linking up her teaching project in Hungary with the work going on in shmu's recording studio in Tillydrone, as part of the shmuSOUND project:

"Admittedly, I was feeling a little nostalgic as I got out of the car with memories of my younger self racing to the shop with my pocket money – of course to stack up on 10p crisps, chomps and lollies…

In August 2012, as I made my journey across Europe for my dream job as an English teacher, little did I know that only six months later, it would lead me right back to my humble beginnings - Tillydrone.

Not long into my new job at a Christian secondary school in Hungary, I discovered such amazingly talented students. I later had the opportunity to work with two of them, turning one of my old poems into a song for the biannual USA DAY at our school. That very experience is how our band was formed and we have been writing and composing together since.

Sandy, Gábor and I are also founding members of the school’s new media and PR team. It was through a school trip with this team that we were blessed with the opportunity to record our songs at the shmuSOUND Studio, in Tillydrone, which is run by local community media charity Station House Media Unit (shmu).

I knew that we had something and I felt that we just had to get these recorded, even as a keepsake, if nothing else.

I’d always been a poet, not a song writer and suddenly I had full songs running through my head. The minute I’d show them to Gábor and Sandy, they’d have a melody – often the same one I heard while writing! We just had to do this.

So, I started searching for a music studio and then it hit me! I used to volunteer for shmuFM and as I was leaving that position, they were starting a new music and film project.

It was a green light from the first email. We were booked in for two practice sessions and a full day recording which coincided perfectly with our school trip to Scotland. This was funded under a project called shmuSOUND, which provides free tuition, advice and recording time for those aged 14-25 and from the city's 7 designated 'regeneration areas' of Cummings Park, Middlefield, Northfield, Seaton, Tillydrone, Torry and Woodside.

That week in Aberdeen was nonstop; we were volunteering at the YMCA, doing street outreach, helping the elderly and so much more around the recording too. It was fantastic; we loved every minute of it!

The guys at TYP were friendly, open and welcoming and Simon wasn’t wrong when he described the building as a tardis.

We had so much fun, but more than anything we had the support we needed to complete two professional sounding songs. The staff were always on-hand to give extra advice and encouragement and they were so patient with all of us whenever we’d mess up a take.

We would go back to work with them in a heartbeat and it is certainly a very worthwile project.

I can only wish that we had such a supportive team while I was growing up in Tilly. They are simply dedicated to getting the best out of youths who have no idea what to do with their gifts.

Now, only a few months on and our band, Revival, is under offer for a 12 month contract with a major Christian Record Label in the USA. If it wasn’t for the kind folks at shmu and TYP – it would never have happened!

Hopefully, we’ll get to visit you again in the near future Tilly!"