From Pop Mashups to Refugee Fundraising, These Ingenues Fly Like Arrows
Where they’re from: Somalia/Canada
Genre: Pop R&B
When they started: 2010
Most Similar: Emeli Sande, Lauryn Hill
Sounds like: A delightful, soul mashup of J.Cole and Gotye
A few weeks ago, Somalian sisters Siham and Iman Hashi made a significant contribution to the canon of self-uploaded YouTube videos. The twenty-somethings, who go by Faarrow, posted a mashup of two songs I lurve: Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and J.Cole’s “Can’t Get Enough.” The girls, who were signed to Universal Motown as Sweet Rush until 2010, fuse the emo pop song with the R&B club track and built a song greater than the sum of its parts.
“I was sleeping one day and I heard it in my head,” said Siham (the brunette one) over the phone from their home in Los Angeles. They loved the Gotye song, and “it was haunting our life.” Meanwhile, they had a special connection to the J.Cole song.
“The really great part is that Iman is actually, on the original song, singing the hook with him,” Siham said of the Roc Nation-signed Grammy nominee.
Though they’re moving up in the music game, there’s more to Faarrow than fabulous collaborations with hip hop artists. The girls are Somalian refugees — they were born in Mogadishu but left for Toronto at the ages four and five. They still have family there, and sometimes have trouble being in touch with them. Because of this, and their visibility as the first female Somalians to land a major label record deal, they’ve become spokespeople for the continuing crisis in their native land.
As Wish Creatively, they sell handmade jewelry and give the profits to help Somalian women and children who live in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya. Last year they penned a song for the UN Refugee Agency, called “Never Forgotten,” and later this month they’re performing in Tunisia for World Refugee Day.
Given this positive energy, their name is especially appropriate. Faarow is a combination of their names’ meanings translated from the Arabic: “faith” and “arrow.”
Faarrow bring that level of commitment to their music career too. They’ve been in the studio with luminary producers like No I.D, who’s worked with Common and Drake. The girls are mum about a release date, but they promise an EP of four or five songs soon.
“We are working on songs absolutely!” said Iman.