Ruba Shamshoum - Shamat: east meets west in an impressive debut

Ruba Shamshoum, Shamat, ***, Self-Released

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Artist: Ruba Shamshoum
Genre: Jazz
Label: Self-Released

Vocalist and composer Ruba Shamshoum represents the crest of a new wave in Irish creative music.

A Palestinian, and a recent graduate of Newpark’s jazz programme, she is plugged into the diversity and musical ambition of Dublin’s multinational jazz community – her band here includes Chilean-Venezuelan guitarist Orlando Molina and Romanian cellist Aleka Potinga, as well as eminent locals, clarinetist Matthew Berrill and drummer Matthew Jacobson, who also produces.

But the sound of the Nazareth-born singer’s debut album is also firmly rooted in her own Middle-Eastern heritage, and if her songs appear on the surface to be about love, there are undercurrents of longing and regret lurking beneath the surface that hint at wider political and historical themes.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director