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Nancy Ruth – I once said I’d stay in Malaga

Like many foreigners who stay in Malaga, Nancy Ruth too arrived in the city by chance. 16 years later she’s still here – read on to discover why.

In the latest in our series of expats in Malaga, we are thrilled to welcome Nancy, the first Canadian in the series and a seriously good jazz singer and musician. We watched Nancy perform recently at a gig in The Clarence Jazz Club (now based in Torremolinos) and were captivated by her love of Malaga. We’re very grateful that she agreed to provide her reasons why she once said she’d stay in Malaga.

When did you arrive in Malaga?

In 2001. I’ve been spending part of the year here ever since.

Why did you arrive in Malaga?

I had a yearning for Spain from the time I was a young girl; I was naturally drawn to sounds, images and stories about Spain, so I knew that once I arrived I would probably stay.

As destiny had it, a cruise ship I was singing on dropped me off here at the end of my contract, and that’s how I arrived. I didn’t know a soul here, nor did I have any contacts, work, lovers or leads. My decision to stay in Malaga was pure instinct, perhaps a bit risky, but I went with my gut feeling to start a new life here, and I’m so glad I did.

Watch a video of Nancy explaining why she came to Malaga

What were your first impressions of Malaga?

My first view of Malaga was from the sea. As I sailed into the harbour, I could see the full moon lighting up the coastline, and I felt at once excited, content and full of gleeful anticipation, as if I knew it would be my home even before I set foot on its soil.

What do you think has changed most about Malaga since you arrived?

I’ve lived in more traditional Spanish areas like Pedregalejo, El Palo and Rincón de la Victoria, where there isn’t a lot of tourism. Not much has changed other than the cost of living, which went up when the peseta was replaced by the euro.


What do you like most about living in Malaga?

  • Speaking andaluz, malagueño. I love the language and the creativity of it; my friends and musicians are local, so I’m very much integrated into the culture. The flexibility with which we speak, always playing with the language and inventing new expressions and words, is a constant source of fun for me.
  • The way the musicians I work with here interpret the music I write. They have great musical instincts, and a particular understanding of rhythm that comes from the flamenco tradition. It’s fun to write with them in mind, and experience the thrill in the process of collaboration.
  • The mystique. This region of Spain has such a fascinating history, and I find great inspiration in the architecture, the sounds, aromas and general vibe.
reasons to stay in Malaga

What do you like least about living in Malaga?

The sun. Yes, the thing that most people come here for, for me, is the most challenging. I love the light here, but I’m nearly allergic to the sun so I wait until the evenings to go out, unless I take great pains to cover up. You’ll never catch me sunbathing, although I’ll often go kayaking or swimming as the sun is going down.

Where’s your favourite corner in Malaga and why?

The playas of Pedregalejo, as that’s where I first felt at home here and did a lot of writing.

Which is your favourite restaurant in Malaga and why?

I like the most typical of places; you don’t have to spend more here to eat like a queen:

El Castillo in the Rincón de la Victoria, about 8 euros for a 3 course meal (‘menu’)… also the old Vinums ‘Pa Vernos Matao’’ taperia in El Palo, 1 euro tapas and the best wines.

Watch Nancy’s song dedicated to Malaga

Describe Malaga in 3 words

I can only do that in Spanish, but I’ll do my best to translate:

Chispa  as in spark, joy, creativity, edge.

Luz  as in the light that only Malaga has.

Picardía  as in, well, best look this one up yourself, although if you’ve been here for a while you’ll understand 😉

Nancy Ruth is a Canadian-born singer, songwriter, musician and recording artist. Her Spanish roots eventually led her to Malaga, where she now resides and finds creative inspiration for her songwriting, weaving her influences in the Mediterranean breeze.

Find out more about Nancy Ruth on her website.

Guide to Malaga would like to thank Nancy very much for her time and most of all, for her passion for the city – no wonder she chose to stay in Malaga!  We’re very grateful  – thank you Nancy!


Discover Malaga for yourself in our Guide to Malaga, all you need to make the most of this amazing city-break destination.


Read more interviews with expats living in Malaga in our other interviews:

A city to fall in love with – Joanna Karonska

I knew the city had something special – Andrew Forbes

Nowhere else made the same impression – Fred Shively

Life in Malaga is what you make of it – Liz Parry

Life’s a view – Rachel Winspear

I just kept coming back – Danai Danae

Going so native you do the shrug – Stuart Ashing

At home from the very beginning – Else Beekman

Some things are just meant to be – John Kramer

Impossible to leave – Nami Haghighi

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