Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman

16/05/19A-WA Drop Thought-Provoking Precursor To Forthcoming Second Full-Length

We first covered the Yemenite sisters back in 2016, when they teamed up with Loco Hot on APE Records. That was after they released their breakout single "Habib Galbi" (which has so far amassed over 12 million views on YouTube) and followed that up with their eponymous debut album. Blending traditional Yemenite folk with urban beats and electronic soundscapes, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim have made quite a name for themselves across the globe, as they confidently continue to propagate their role as strong and modern women in the rather conservative Middle East. 

Just recently A-WA released their new single "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman", based on the real-life experience of their great-grandmother, who fled her home in Yemen in 1949 during what is today known as "Operation Magic Carpet" and immigrated to Israel to escape persecution and violence. However, upon arrival in Israel, said Yemenite Jews were placed in camps and regularly discriminated against. The lyrics of "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" reflect these early tensions and struggles:

"Where will I stake a home? (You have a tent for now) / Or at least a small shack (along with four other families) / And here I will raise a family (Don't let them take your daughter) / I'll find myself a job with an income (either in cleaning or working the earth) / And I will learn the language (Lose the accent) / With time I'll feel like I belong (Here is not Yemen)."

Reminiscent of the song "America" from the musical "West Side Story", the catchy single is led by the sisters' melodic chants, while driven by intricate rhythms and a beat produced by Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box) that is clearly purposed for the dancefloor. The companion music video, which you can watch below, was shot in the streets of Tel Aviv and directed in collaboration Omer Ben-David. It features an array of powerful dance moves as well as a modern take on popular looks of the time. 

After "Mudbira" (unveiled earlier this year), "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" is the second promising precursor to A-WA's forthcoming full-length "Bayti Fi Rasi" (transl. My House Is My Head), to be released on May 31st (S-Curve/BMG). Preceding the album release the siblings will be on tour in Germany (see below). Check here for more dates. 

May 23rd Leipzig, Werk 2
May 24th Hannover, World Music Festival
May 25th Berlin, Gretchen Club

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom