IWI: Te Whānau a Apanui / Ngāti Porou / Tainui / Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Te Arawa / Ngā Puhi / Rongowhakaata / Ngā Ariki
Rob Ruha is a multi award winning singer/songwriter from Aotearoa. His unique style of music has been described as an eclectic mix of soul-roots-reggae with RnB licks, laced with rock-blues and bohemian-jazz-fusion accents. Grounded on a bed of the tribal rhythms and the pulse of haka and mōteatea, Rob explains his brand of music as “Haka-soul”. His vocal prowess is typical of his Māori people – powerful, textured and exposed. As a songsmith, Robs genius lies in that rare ability of weaving together sound and rhythm that bring to life the lyrics and themes of the song.
In 2011, Rob was approached to record two of his compositions entitled ‘Hotuhotu’ (featuring Ria hall, released 30 March, 2011) and ‘Pūngāwerewere’ (Performed by Rongomai Taiapa) for the Māori compilation album ‘He Kohikohinga.’ ‘Hotuhotu’ was a finalist at the 2012 Māori Music Awards for the ‘Most Played Waiata in Te Reo Māori.’
Following this, Rob released his first single “Pōnga rā” on Waitangi Day 2014 as an intentional move to announce the foundations of his musical career. That is, the power of music to give voice to themes and issues that impact indigenous nations and our solutions, from our worldview.
“Pōnga rā” went to number #1 on the iTunes World Music charts in NZ and Australia. It featured in the Top 20 NZ Singles Charts and the Hot 100 NZ hits. His second single “Tiki Tapu” did the same, hit the top 3 IMNZ singles charts and featured in the top 10 NZ Singles Charts 2014.
In 2014 Rob picked up awards for Best Māori Male Solo Artist, Best Māori Composer and Best Song (Tiki Tapu) at the Waiata Māori Music Awards. His single “Tiki Tapu” won the Maioha Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls awards and his EP also entitled Tiki Tapu won Best Māori Album of the Year at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2014.
Rob has performed at numerous festivals in Aotearoa and abroad and is a proud performer for the nationally acclaimed Te Whānau a Apanui kapa haka group. In 2014 he shared the stage with Seth Haapu and Maisey Rika as the opening act for international music sensation John Legend at the Auckland leg of his “All of me” tour. He also joined the Maisey Rika band in their tour for the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland 2015.
His new album “Pūmau” will showcase and extend the deep and eclectic cultural sounds synonymous with Rob’s Haka-soul brand of music and will feature many of Aotearoa’s hottest artists.
“My intention is to make music that appeals to the intellect as well as the soul. Music that is diverse and unrestricted, moves people – makes you tap your feet, makes you wanna grove to the earthed beat and sing-along while normalizing Māori worldviews, stories and prospectives – this is Haka-soul.”