We’re listening to A-WA’s lastest single, “Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” (Here Is Not Yemen) from their new album “Bayti Fi Rasi.”
A-Wa is the spectacular Yemenite-Israeli sister trio of Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim. Like all of their songs, “Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” is a beautiful blend of dance music with hip hop beats and folk melodies woven together to give us a unique sound that makes us move.
The song starts off with a cowbell and 80s-inspired chant in the Yemeni Arabic dialect. Then new beats are introduced, layered one top of one another. Then the Middle Eastern influences appear and blend it all in a musical cocktail.
The video incorporates modernity with tradition. They’ve cast some expressive dancers set against the musical backdrop of a dance track with Middle Eastern sounds and imagery. It’s eclectic, it makes you move.
But “Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” is more than a fun dance track filled with body roll Middle Eastern beats. It talks about the struggles of Yemenite Jews who emigrated to Israel. It’s actually inspired by their great grandmom who fled the violence and persecution to Israel in 1949. But The Yemenite Jews were put in refugee camps and faced discrimination.
“Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” means “Here Is Not Yemen” and the lyrics reflect this immigrant experience.
“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).”
The video, directed by Omer Ben David, features dancers Atalya Ben Ari, Nadav Shalom, Lilah Amar and Eshed Avraham, and is choreographed by Daniel Hazan. It’s also subtitled for those non Yemeni Arabic dialect speakers. It should be on repeat.