A-WA (pronounced Ay-wa) made their Toronto premiere at the Mod Club on the weekend. Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim are influenced by both modern and ancient worlds, with songs in Hebrew, English and Yemeni-Arabic. They combine traditional Yemeni folk songs with contemporary funk, electronica, and hip hop.

While searching for new material, the sisters came across an old folk song they remembered as children. Habib Galbi is part of an oral tradition of women’s chanting passed from generation to generation for centuries. They gave the song a modern twist and the result was a hit – the first ever Arabic-language song to top the Israeli music charts.

SDTC: What aisle do you spend the most time in at the grocery store?

A-WA: Our favourite is the vegetables and fruit section.

What would your high school yearbook have said about you?

Tair: Most likely to succeed as a professional singer.

Liron: Most likely to join a band of gypsies and sing around the world.

Tagel: Going to be surrounded by art.

What would you be if you weren’t a musician?

Liron: Actress or writer.

Tair: Dancer and motivational speaker.

Tagel: Archaeologist.

What makes you happy?

Music and cats. Lots of plants and flowers. The desert. Hearing from people who come to our shows who tell us they started out with a bad day and our show lifted them up.

What makes you cringe?


What is overrated?

Roller coasters. Smoking.

Who’d you most like to meet?

Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, Tom Waits.

Describe your perfect Saturday:

Tagel: It starts with good coffee and cookies.

Tair: Taking a day trip with friends and listening to good music.

Liron: Spending time with family in our beautiful desert village Shaharut.

What word or phrase should we all use more?

“There’s an option for vibe.” We say it in the band when we arrive at a venue and it feels like we’re going to have a great vibe that night.