A-WA is one of those rare gems audiences stumble upon at Pickathon. The Israeli-Yemenite group, made up of three sisters, takes traditional Yemenite folk songs and embellishes them with synths, guitar and keyboard. The trio’s music honors its cultural heritage while also transforming beloved songs into something new.
A-Wa performed a take on the traditional song “Galbi Haway” at the Woods Stage at last year’s festival. Clad in bright patterns, the three sisters sang effusively, voices intertwined over a syncopated beat. “Galbi Haway” means “my heart is in love” in Arabic, and the sisters repeated that phrase — beckoning audience members into the amphitheater like an oasis in the desert.
This week, Aug. 2-5, Pickathon celebrates its 20th year at Pendarvis Farm outside Portland. Built to Spill, Broken Social Scene, Phosphorescent, Shakey Graves and Slingshot artist Jamila Woods are among the performers. You can watch a live video feed from the festival starting Friday on opbmusic.
The Pickathon Woods Series was made possible by support from Klean Kanteen.