‘Come With Me’ is Karen Ruimy’s debut album. Having grown up in Morocco with "Arabic music, flamenco, a little bit of rai", then in France listening to "French singers like Michel Berger and Veronique Sanson" and latterly living in both America and London Karen is clearly inspired by a broad sweep of musical influences. Her sound is heady, instinctive, sexy; deeply inflected by her Latin and North African influences but with a strong pop heart.
‘Come With Me’ opens with the flamenco-infused Sangré. Sung in Spanish, inspired by Lorca’s tragedy Bodas de Sangre, and written by Karen and the album’s producer Youth (whose credits include Beth Orton, The Verve, Paul McCartney), Sangré is a passionate tale of impossible love.
Sangré is also the title track of the stunning dance show which debuted at The Riverside Studios summer 2012 and will be touring 2013. With original music by Karen, Youth and Justin Adams (Robert Plant, Tinariwen, JuJu) and directed by the French Algerian dancer and choreographer Redha Benteifour, Sangré is a compelling story told through dance, voice and live music - one woman's experience of life and love, passion, choice, freedom and hope. Sangré is in fact Karen’s sixth live show - her previous shows have played in both Paris (including Folies Bergere & La Cigale) and in London (at the Lyric).
A chance meeting with Peter Gabriel’s tour manager led to an introduction to Justin Adams and an invitation to record at Gabriel’s Real World studios. Working with Justin was a revelation for Karen "When I met Justin, I discovered he knew so much about Moroccan music and rhythm.
"He could play on the 'derbouka' all the rhythms I was dancing to in my youth. He knew also about the music of the Gnaoua people, the Berbers from the South, the music from the Atlas Mountains tribes that I belong to. Writing with him was magical."
The title track was the first song written by Karen and Justin and was a revelation for her "it was such an organic and liberating process. I was completely transported to a mystical Morocco, and we were able to mix the rhythms of my youth with a more British pop music style."
That organic process and the ability to fuse her diverse influences set the tone for the album, on which Karen sings in Arabic, English, Spanish and French.
On ‘Sultana’ Karen imagined a trance dance under the star-strewn night sky in Marrakech; for ‘Mohave Moon’ she was inspired by her spiritual home of the Arizona desert; ‘Shake It Up’, again in the more Arabic style, was written after Karen attended a peace conference held by Shimon Peres at the time of the Arab spring; ‘Sans Cesse’ and ‘Les Oiseaux’ see her singing in French her first tongue and ‘Traveller’ is a filmic meditative mix of Gnaoua and Irish rhythms.
The single ‘Come With Me’, remixed by the likes of Paul Oakenfold and M Factor, has given Karen her second club hit peaking at number 2 in the Upfront Club chart and at number 10 in the Cool Cuts Chart. It follows the hotly tipped 2012 underground summer dance anthem ‘Fragile’, which was a top 10 Upfront Club Chart and a favourite in Ibiza.
Karen’s interests and talents are as broad as her influences. She left behind a successful career in banking to fulfill her creative and artistic dreams. As well as training as a flamenco dancer she released her second book, The Voice Of The Angel, in October and has established a charity with Mariella Frostrup called the GREAT Initiative which promotes equality for women (Boodles have designed and created a special bracelet - The Great Boodles Bangle - which was launched in November).
"I will always remember the feeling of singing in Arabic, on Moroccan rhythms in an English countryside studio. This album has been a great voyage for me. I was lucky to work with beautiful artists, I felt free in my creative process."