The music video for “Habib Galbi” (Love of My Heart), a sorrowful Yemeni folk song, opens with a simple shot across the desert. Inside a small hut, an exasperated woman pulls back the woven curtain of a Bedouin tent and croons in Arabic over a hollow, hypnotic drumbeat and ghostly minor key: “Love of my heart and eyes, it is a wonder who has turned you against me.”
But the sandy landscape in the music video is far from the Haraz Mountains — it was shot over 1,500 miles away in the Arabah region near the Mediterranean Sea. Though the Arabic may sound effortless, those singing it actually only know the language as a second tongue. And the band — calledA-Wa, a stylized transliteration of Arabic slang for “yeah” — hasn’t even come close to stepping foot in Yemen. They’re Israeli.