Column: Women's Lives

'Ruba Shamshoum is simply a complete joy'

Ruba plays Whelan's in Dublin on May 25th.

Stella Carroll


Stella Carroll


'Ruba Shamshoum is simply a complete joy'

Ruba Shamshoum

We are our past, but we are so much more.

We are the creators of our own future. When we can create that future with love, optimism and a soulful harmony we know we are paying full tribute to our past.

Ruba Shamshoum is a complete joy! A singer, songwriter and a creator of musical escapism. She is delightful to listen to, whether you tune into her wonderfully upbeat, jazzy eclectic mix of music or appreciate her soulful and insightful, TEDx talk at London Business School. The playfulness and sparkling humour which this Palestinian diva brings to her music is testament to her roots and to her unique outlook on a creative life. Embracing the past but finding your own safe place, your own bubble of happiness in order to grow and flourish.

Ruba was born in Nazareth, and Ruba and her husband moved to Dublin five years ago. Ireland was the perfect option as an adopted country, as she felt drawn to the mythology and the romantic side of Celtic life. The weather might not be the best but she has never regretted that move. The love of music was always prevalent and soon Ruba was studying jazz performance at Newpark Music Centre. She has written music for a film (When I Saw you), and released a number of singles which have been greeted with much acclaim and were a part of top indie charts in the Middle East and North Africa. She has performed in international festivals in Ireland, the UK and the Middle East. Her music has been described as drawing “from the harmony, sensibility, improvisation and playfulness of jazz, mixed with tinges of Middle Eastern and Arabic musical elements that complement her style”.

Most songs are in her native Arabic, but surprisingly Ruba feels that this has had a positive effect in how the songs are received.

“Although it is a small challenge, I feel that it brings the audience into your world as you tell the story behind the music and this engages them so they feel the song on another level. Music is universal, after all, and moves and resonates beyond the language”, she explains.

Having grown up listening to stories of pain and resistance from her grandmother, she has accepted that past as part of her own identity. But she stresses that she has not cut the roots of the pain of that history.

“Know the past and accept it, but what you choose to do onwards is the question." In her TED talk, entitled, "Being a contemporary artist in a society that worships the past", she states that the role of the artist is to take the audience to new places, stimulating their minds with new ideas.

The new album, ‘Shamat’, reflects this creativity and is a delightfully heady, eclectic mix of sparkling music dealing with all shades of emotions. This Palestinian diva brings a classy, eloquent and delicious mix of easy listening. The new CD ‘Shamat’ will be launched on the 5th May*.

Give it a listen, as Ruba Shamshoum is a name to watch. A rising star. A classy lady and the perfect music for a warm spring evening.

Ruba plays Whelan's, Dublin on the 25th May.

“Ruba’s songs have strong narratives about exile, hope and love. Her distinct jazz influences allowed space to flourish with a band drawn from the elite of the Dublin jazz scene.” - Hot Press”

* This column was originally published in the May 4th, 2017, edition of the Donegal Democrat.