Ishay Ribo to perform at London's O2 Arena on December 5

Ribo lyrically draws inspiration from the commentary of Rashi, the teachings of rabbis such as Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, and other religious themes.

RELIGIOUS SINGER-SONGWRITER Ishay Ribo opens the Golan Land Festival on May 18 (photo credit: SHLOMI PINTO)
RELIGIOUS SINGER-SONGWRITER Ishay Ribo opens the Golan Land Festival on May 18
(photo credit: SHLOMI PINTO)

Israeli singer-songwriter Ishay Ribo will perform at London's famed “O2 Arena” on December 5th– the second-to-last night of Hanukkah.

Ribo was born in 1989 in Marseille, France to a traditional, orthodox Sephardic Jewish family, moving to Israel at eight years old when his family made aliyah.

His career got its big break In 2014 when Ribo produced his debut album, whose third single "Kol Dodi" earned second place at the 2013 Israel Song Festival. His 2018 album "Shetach Afor" (Gray Area), Ribo's third, was certified platinum, led by hit single "Lashuv HaBaytah" ("Coming Home"), which currently has over 40 million views on YouTube.

Ribo, who wears a kippah in public and at concerts, is known for his spirituality and faith-inspired music– which generally is not as popular in Israel. Originally planning to sing for an exclusively religious audience, he has become tremendously popular among secular audiences as well. In fact, Ribo performs both in general venues and for gender-separated Haredi audiences.

“My music has reached the broadest audience possible,” Ribo said in a 2019 interview. "From the most Hasidic people who I would never have expected to listen to it, to complete atheists who write to me and say, 'I don't believe in anything, but your songs awaken something in my soul'".

What separated Ribo’s songs from other Hasidic music is that Ribo writes original lyrics, while typical Haredi music uses Bible quotes. Ribo draws inspiration from the commentary of Rashi, the teachings of rabbis such as Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, and other religious themes. His most recent album, “Elul 5779" (named after the Jewish lunar calendar month/year), is comprised of Yom Kippur hymns, including covers of songs by Shlomo Carlebach and Rabbi Hillel Paley.

Ishay Ribo performing in the oncology department at Sheba Medical Center with Daniel, a 9-year-old cancer patient (credit: SHUKI BRIF)Ishay Ribo performing in the oncology department at Sheba Medical Center with Daniel, a 9-year-old cancer patient (credit: SHUKI BRIF)

How would Israeli sensation describe his unique, spiritual sound that has captured the hearts of Israeli's and Jews across the world? In keeping with the Jewish principles of humility, Ribo characterized his musical genre simply as "rock/folk".

Opened in 2007, the O2 Arena in London is among the world’s most famous concert venues. Michael Jackson was scheduled to perform a 50-show residency at the arena called “This is it” before his passing in 2009, and ss of 2020, the O2 Arena was the busiest music arena in the world, per ticket sales.