Plenty of music and culture publications operate inside of a westernized box, and we hope that in 2019 and especially in 2020 and beyond, we can continue to break down walls and become a truly global publication. Which is why I’m thrilled to share this new music video by A-WA, chart-topping Yemenite-Israeli sisters.
Inspired by “America” from West Side Story, A-WA’s video takes place in Israel in 1949 and reflects the strain between newly immigrated Yemenite, along with Sephardic Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, and the Ashkenazi Jews of European descent. The video and the song is based on the true story of their great-grandmother, who immigrated from Yemen during Operation Magic Carpet to escape persecution. Upon arrival in Israel, Yemenite Jews were placed in tent cities and treated as primitive by the locals.
The call and response in the lyrics depict this tension and parallels the call and response in the song “America.”
Where will I make a home?
(You have a tent for now)
Or at least a small shack
(Along with four other families)
The video was produced and art-directed by A-WA, directed by Omer Ben-David, and shot in the streets of Tel Aviv. Watch the video below, wake up, and pay attention to what’s going on around the world—in music, or otherwise.
Photo by Tamir Moosh