A-WA, the Jewish Yemenite Sister Band, Shines on NPR’s Tiny Desk

The Haim sisters made it to NPR’s Tiny Desk. Not the American sister band — the Yemeni-Israeli one. Tair, Liron, and Tagel Haim are sisters from a tiny village in southern Israel who comprise the band A-WA. Their songs are a mix of Yemenite, Arabic, and electronic music — their 2016 song “Habib Galbi” (“Love of My Heart”) went viral, becoming the first song in Arabic to top Israeli charts.

A-WA’s album, Bayti Fi Rasiwhich translates to My Home Is In My Head, tells the story of their great-grandmother Rachel’s journey from Yemen to Israel.

“She used to say, whenever she was asked in Yemen, why are you always traveling from one place to another? Why don’t you stay in one place, and she said, ‘I can’t stay in one place. My home is in my head.’ She was a very legendary character in our family; we heard a lot of stories about her from our grandma, and from our dad,” Tair told Alma in an interview earlier this year.

In the most exciting Tiny Desk concert of the year (okay, besides Lizzo’s), the sisters perform “Habib Galbi” and two songs off their new album — “Al Asad” and “Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” (which you should 100% go watch the music video for once you finish watching this Tiny Desk).

Bob Boilen, the Tiny Desk host, writes, “The last time we filmed these three Israeli sisters, they were sitting in my hotel room during South by Southwest, performing a heartbreaking lullaby, accompanied by just a guitarist. Now Liron, Tagel and Tair Haim are behind my desk with a full band of keyboards, bass, guitar and drums, singing more forlorn tunes in their unique three-part harmony.”

You have to watch:

Image via Bob Boilen/NPR

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