September 6, 2019


The Sisters Of A-WA 'Want To Bring Something New' To Yemen's Musical Traditions (Ari Shapiro, 9/03/19, ATC)

A-WA is made up of three Israeli sisters, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim. This melodic trio of Jewish women of Yemeni descent women emphasize mixing their culture's traditions with forward-thinking modifications to sound, visuals and ethos. The sisters are known for eye-popping music videos that challenge gender stereotypes. Picture women in traditional robes that are neon pink while off-roading across a barren desert. The trio's sound is just as distinctive. The sisters' latest album, Bayti Fi Rasi (My Home Is In My Head), reworks traditional music from their ancestors' home country of Yemen with hip-hop and electronic elements.

While A-WA was at NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. to perform a Tiny Desk concert, the members spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro about the messaging of the band's music.

"The songs on this album are inspired by our great grandma," Tahir, the eldest sister, says. "She was traveling from Yemen to Israel as a single mom and ["Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman"] talks about her arrival in Israel. They put all the Yemenite Jews back then in transition camps or a tent camp. ... We talk about all the mixed emotions she felt."

Posted by at September 6, 2019 7:56 AM