Audio

Somali Sister Duo, Faarrow, Want the Critics to 'Shut Up' and Listen to their New EP, Lost

Somali sister duo Iman and Siham Hashi release the second single off their upcoming EP Lost.

Update: You can now stream Faarrow's entire 'Lost' EP over at Okayplayer


Sisters Iman and Siham Hashi, known to the world as Faarrow, released the second single off their upcoming EP Lost. The pop ballad “Shut Up” includes a surprising guest feature by actor Zac Efron, who sings on the tracks hook.

Produced and co-written by actor and producer Elijah Kelley, Kelly recruited his former “Hairspray” co-star to the listening session. His vocals can be heard overlaid on the song’s hook.

As for Faarrow, the Somali sisters have been making waves ever since the release of their track “Rule the World,” a jazz-infused pop anthem in 2013. After a three-year hiatus from the music industry, the two have been working on their EP. “Shut Up” paves the way to such an entrance.

In an interview with Lenny Letter, Faarrow explains that the song was created out of exasperation. “[‘Shut Up’] came from a place of frustration. It's also a way of looking at and talking to yourself and shutting up your own inner doubt because we are our own worst critics sometimes."

The sisters, who are political refugees from Somalia, are the first female artists of Somali-descent to sign to a major record deal with a major U.S. label.

Faarrow’s forthcoming EP Lost is scheduled for release Friday, July 15th. The 5-track EP will feature the leading single “Lost,” the recently released “Shut Up” and three brand new tracks from the sisters.

In the meantime, you can listen to “Shut Up” above.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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