DUBAI: Ireland-based Palestinian singer-songwriter Ruba Shamshoum has released a new song called “Love Growing.” It’s a collaboration with Irish singer-songwriter Riona Sally Hartman and Libyan singer-songwriter and pianist Farah Elle, also based in Dublin.
In a press release for the track, Shamshoum and Hartman said that they were “discussing the hopelessness we felt when watching the oppression of the Palestinian people from afar.” In response, the pair decided to attempt to create “a hopeful song.”
They did this, they explained, “not because it would solve anything, but because it was what we could do in that moment.”
Shamshoum wrote a verse in Arabic, and Hartman wrote one in Irish, and an English-language chorus. They then invited Elle to join them to record the track.
Shamshoum was born and raised in Nazareth before moving to Dublin. She has made a name for herself in recent years with her distinctive musical style, which blends jazz sensibilities (she studied jazz performance at Newpark Music Center in Dublin) with Arabic and Middle Eastern instrumental and vocal flourishes. Her debut album, “Shamat” (Beauty Spots) was widely acclaimed.
Hartman shares Shamshoum’s jazz influences. Her debut album, “Big Starving Thing,” drew comparisons with artists including Theo Bleckmann and Becca Stevens for its stripped-back acoustic ambience and vocal harmonies.
Elle has been a fixture on Ireland’s live circuit for some time. Like Shamshoum, she blends musical styles from her homeland with Western influences (although in Elle’s case, those influences are more pop, R&B and hip-hop than jazz). She is currently working on her debut album.
The three artists have dedicated their new track to the women of Palestine.
In other regional music news, Lebanese-Canadian electro-pop duo Wake Island dropped a video for their track “We Said Yes,” in early January. The clip was filmed in Beirut and features a rapid trip through the streets of the Lebanese capital, interspersed with close-up shots of random strangers, capturing the city’s cosmopolitan makeup perfectly.