Here’s an almost never-heard-of-before piece of music. And take note, because it’s making the whole of Israel and the rest of the world hum its tune. Habib-Galbi is not typically Israelite music but has got its root from the traditional Yemen music. Exuding the harmonies of American musicals and the rhythms of hip-hop and reggae, this melody leaves you grooving to an unknown language.
Three Israeli sisters, Liron, Tair and Tagel, grew up humming the Yemenite tune they got from their grandmother, who was a Yemeni. They formed a band named A-WA and topped the charts with this song.
“It opens our horizons as humans,” said Liron. “To have other people listen to your voice and they don’t understand what we’re singing, but we’re telling the story of our grandmother.”
Now what’s the big deal if it’s topping the charts in Israel? Israel might geographically still be a part of the Middle-east, but it long ago disassociated itself from its cultural terrain. On its formation back in 1948, Israel was meant to be a country with exclusive Jewish-Hebrew ethnicity. Following the Arab-Jew rift, there had been serious ban on Arabic (Mizrahi) music in Israeli radio. This was done to ensure suppression of any leftover of Arab cultural roots in Israel. However, the massive success of this song in Israel shows how much Arabian culture is still very much a part of this country’s ethnic history. People’s acceptance and appreciation is opening new doors for the cultural rift to drift away.