Saturday, March 28, 2015

A-wa: yes, Yemenites rock!


Yemenite rain song, performed by the three Haim sisters 

 Three sisters of Yemenite descent from Israel's southern Arava desert have been taking the Arabic music world by storm. The Times of Israel has their story:

Here’s a sound that hasn’t been heard before. The guttural trills of Yemeni Arabic, couched in the text of a traditional women’s song, filtered through the harmonies of American musicals and the stylized rhythms of hip-hop and reggae. It’s the sound of A-Wa (pronounced Ay Wah, and Arabic for “yes”), a trio of sisters who are about to release their first single, “Habib Galbi,” based on the music they’ve been hearing since birth.

 “It’s like we ransacked everything,” said Tair Haim, 31, the eldest, and smallest, of the three. “We’re sisters, and we’re three sisters, we’re Yemenite, we’re from this tiny place down south, and we’re adding hip-hop and reggae to traditional Yemenite music.”

 Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim, 31, 29 and 25, are perched close together on an old black leather couch in the Kaboom studio, on the edge of Tel Aviv’s Florentin. They just completed a rehearsal for next week’s gig at Barby, Tel Aviv’s club for local rockers. The three are the oldest of their parents’ six children, raised on Shaharut, a remote southern farming community in the Arava where they learned to rely on one another.

 It was Tair Haim who was first bitten by the performance bug. She got up on a makeshift stage at her seventh birthday party and announced an upcoming performance, to which she graciously invited Liron, the next in line.

 Read article in full

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Another popular Israeli group blending Yemenite rythms and modern rock: Yemen Blues, led by Ravid Kalahani