b. Cádiz, Spain. Claiming to draw inspiration from a love of life and beautiful women, Ruibal writes ‘poems of love’ that have seen him hailed as one of the best singers that Andalusia has produced. He was raised in southern Spain and remains in Puerto de Santa Maria, a centre of flamenco and ‘beautiful women’. Widely regarded as a poet-musician, as opposed to the slightly more mundane sounding singer-songwriter, Ruibal creates a mutant strain of flamenco, with his sublime and bittersweet recordings enlivened by the music drifting in across the sea from North Africa. Music indigenous to the Spanish and Arabic worlds are stylishly fused by Ruibal and musical partner Tito Alcedo (Spanish guitar, flamenco guitar, Arabic lute), along with influences from British and American pop, jazz, salsa, meringue, and other Latin styles. Lyrically, meanwhile, Ruibal has claimed influences as disparate as Spanish poets Federico García Lorca and Rafael Alberti and the Beatles. Having composed songs since the tail end of the 70s, Ruibal released his international debut, Sahara, in 2003 via Riverboat Records. Described in its sleeve notes as ‘a digest, a primer, the bluffer’s guide to the untold and clandestine delights’ of Ruibal, Sahara collected songs from his previous releases Contrabando (1997) and Las Damas Primeras (2001) and reasserted ‘the charmer of Cádiz’ as an important voice in Spanish music.