Today A-WA, chart-topping Yemenite-Israeli trio of sisters, reveal their new music video for “Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman” inspired by “America” from West Side Story. Instead of Puerto Ricans vs white Americans, 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 the trio of sisters’ 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 depicts this tension and parallels the call and response in “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 the sisters and young director Omer Ben-David and shot in the streets of Tel Aviv. The styling in the video is a modern take on popular looks of the time straight down to the polka dot head scarfs.