A-WA Blooms In The Desert, And Other New Global Sounds A mix of old and new with fresh, fun sounds from Israel, Canada, Germany and Estonia.
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Latitudes: Our Favorite Global Music In September

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Latitudes: Our Favorite Global Music In September

Latitudes: Our Favorite Global Music In September

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Anastasia is here to tell us why she is so love with the trio called A-WA. Hey, Anastasia.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Hi. It's such a pleasure to be with you.

SHAPIRO: Who are these women we're hearing from right now?

TSIOULCAS: So they're three sisters, their last name is Haim and they're named Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim. And they're from southern Israel. And what they do is they bring in the sounds of their family's heritage. Their families are Jews from Yemen. And so here they are singing in Arabic, which is not exactly what you might expect from a trio from Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HABIB GALBI")

A-WA: (Singing in Arabic).

SHAPIRO: What are they singing about?

TSIOULCAS: So the name of the song is "Habib Galbi," which means love of my heart. And it's sort of this song of pain and struggle. And, yeah, you have this idea of there's joy and struggle all mixed together.

SHAPIRO: Yemeni Jews really have their own culture with distinct foods, distinct clothing - as you say, they're singing in Arabic. What are they doing with that culture here that is updating it?

TSIOULCAS: They're layering the sound of the music with kind of a hip-hop feel and electronica and, I would say, a little bit of psychedelic sounds, too. So that's really an update, and it feels really relaxed and natural.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HABIB GALBI")

A-WA: (Singing in Arabic).

TSIOULCAS: For an Israeli group to be singing in Arabic and sort of plugging themselves into a shared common heritage, I think it's a pretty big statement. They don't overplay that either. It's not sort of eat your broccoli, you know - these cultures, they're one, and we should all hold hands. But they really kind of do it in a way that's really fluid and fun and relaxed.

SHAPIRO: As good as the music is, the video might be even better. And even though this is radio, can you just give listeners a little description of what they are in for if they go online and watch this video?

TSIOULCAS: Oh, for sure. It is so eye-popping and fun. You know, they create these incredible bright, visual colors. The three ladies are wearing fuchsia pink hijabs. And then they work in all kinds of references and puns and cross-references, and it's just a ton of fun.

SHAPIRO: Anastasia Tsioulcas of NPR Music, thank you so much for telling us about this trio of Yemeni sisters that goes by the name A-WA.

TSIOULCAS: It's so good to be here and I think I'm going to dance out of the studio.

SHAPIRO: Let's dance out together. All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HABIB GALBI")

A-WA: (Singing in Arabic).

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