Emerging from the myriad of music talent in South London is producer and DJ, Rukaiya Russell. A music lover from the days of TDK and Sony Walkman, Rukaiya grew up on Smash Hits, Choice FM, Jungle and House & Garage. Other influences include sounds such as Zouk, Salsa and Merengue which she discovered on her travels around the world.
Rukaiya has a number of releases to her name. Her debut release in 2008 was “Bring Back The Routemaster”, which was a tribute to the iconic London bus and received attention from radio and the press. Demonstrating her versatility, Rukaiya collaborated with MC Serocee on the party anthem “Sound Di Vuvuzela” later followed by the Latin America infused “Cuba Libre” in 2012. This was later followed by two songs for the “Havana Cultura Mix: The Soundclash” album released on Brownswood Recordings where Rukaiya travelled to Cuba with BBC radio DJ, Gilles Peterson and worked with Cuban musicians and artists Charly Mucharrima & Los Niches and Sexto Sentido. That same year, her track “They Come Out At Night” was featured on CDR’s Dimension Sounds compilation. Rukaiya also released an EP called “120 to 140”, a collection of Dance tracks varying in tempo and paying homage to her many musical influences and in 2015, another EP “Return From Miramar” which received radio play and press around the globe. Since then, Rukaiya hosted a series of podcasts called Sonidos Cubanos (Cuban Sounds) highlighting contemporary Cuban music and took a break from music. During this time, she wrote a short book called “ABC of UKG: An Alphabet of UK Garage” paying homage to the UK Garage scene that was integral to her growing up years in London. Rukaiya is currently working on future projects to be shared soon.
Most bios are written in the 3rd person- looks professional, press can quote from it but I wanted to write mine in my own words, from me since it is, sooo…
My name is pronounced ru-kee-ya. I grew up on a healthy diet of Smash Hits, Choice FM, Notting Hill Carnival, Jungle, Garage and SNES and Gameboy. I started making music when my Dad got me a 6 track Casio keyboard while I was at school and eventually, after a year abroad and finishing my degree, I started producing. First track I put out was ‘Bring Back The Routemaster’ which wasn’t intentional but the time dictated. After that I did a number of tracks which came under the UK Funky umbrella and a lil World Cup track called ‘Sound Di Vuvuzela’, which won a Soundcloud competition which was nice. Then released an EP called ‘Cuba Libre’, inspired by my love for Cuba (and the drink) and experimented with a few more releases before getting the opportunity to go to Cuba with Gilles Peterson, Brownswood Recordings and Havana Club to record for the ‘Havana Cultura Mix: The Soundclash’ album. After this I released ‘Return From Miramar’ and did more DJing in the UK, Europe and Cuba, which led to my ‘Sonidos Cubanos’ (Cuban Sounds) series. Then had kids, took a break and lost all my website content. Just before Covid struck, I had the burning desire to document and honour the House & G scene coz I loved it so much and ended up penning ‘ABC of UKG: An Alphabet of UK Garage (The Golden Era)’. Next? Now, that would be telling… 🙂
Charly Mucharrima and