Faarrow Is The Somali Sister Act You Need On Your Playlist
Sisters Iman and Siham Hashi, known to the world as Faarrow, are to release their new EP titled Lost tomorrow, July 15th. And aside from being compared to super girl group, the Spice Girls, Iman and Siham are inspiring youth around the world to be more socially aware by getting involved in helping their communities and utilizing music as a tool for bridging the cultural gaps.
The duo was born two years apart in Somalia, and by 1991, the civil war there resulted in Iman and Siham’s move to Toronto, Canada, and the beginning of their lives as refugees. Since then, the girls have been heavily involved in several humanitarian organizations and projects — the sisters are spokeswomen for the UN Refugee Agency. Get to know Faarrow more in our Q+A below.
Galore: Tell me a little bit about where you are from.
Faarrow: We were born in Somalia and grew up in Toronto. We came to Canada as refugees when we were babies because of the war in Somalia. Even though we weren’t there, everybody that came from the war still carries that with them.
How has that affected how you use your platform?
The minute we got a record deal, we felt like wow we have a voice and we have a platform. We wanted to make sure it was part of our purpose. There’s a lot of refugee camps, not just in Somalia, but in other developing countries, full of women and children. We felt like we wanted to be a voice for all those voiceless women. That was always something that was inside of us. Through working with the UN and other organizations alike, we’re able to continue to spread awareness through our music and our benefit concerts. We just like getting out there and spreading the word.
I feel like a lot of artists now are starting to feel responsible for spreading the word in regards to various issues. Is there anybody you look up to because they do that?
We love Angelina Jolie! We actually met her. She’s a great role model for people. We performed at a UN award show in Switzerland and she was the host. She was just so nice and we got to talk… we actually had a trip planned with another organization to Somalia and she had that same trip planned too. We were just like we can’t believe we’re trying to figure out our trip with Angelina Jolie, this is crazy!
Do you feel like your fans are ready to hear about it?
It’s weird with the refugee crisis happening, I just feel like people are really disconnected from it and they always feel like oh it’s happened to other people, it would never happen to me. They just don’t feel connected to it, and you know, it’s crazy because it can literally happen to anybody.
Music is a good way to connect people and help people to understand things.
Absolutely! We feel like music has no language. There’s no language barriers even though we’re singing in English — people feel music.
Why do so many artists come out of Toronto? That is my question.
You know, that’s a great question because we’ve been doing the music thing for awhile. We left Toronto for the reason of – we love Canada and we love supporting Canada – we just felt like if we want to be a global act, we had to leave. All of the other artists from Toronto took the path of leaving Canada, like Justin Bieber.
Yeah, I guess you just have to come to L.A. to be working with the best of the best.
Exactly! I just feel like there’s so much attention on Toronto now, but the talent has always been there. And because of how Drake and the Weeknd branded the city, people have their eyes on it now. It seems like there are so many more artists coming out, and it’s like… they’ve just always been there. Toronto’s truly having a moment right now.
Who are some artists that you guys are listening to right now?
Drake… of course. We love MNEK too. He has a new song with Zara Larson, they’re both really cool. It’s called “Never Forget You,” and it’s really popular right now! Also, M.I.A. She always has a message or a purpose. Plus, she’s a bad ass and has awesome music.
You guys are stylish. Do you have a lot of say in your image?
Yes! Sometimes artists are with a record deal and it seems like somebody is always putting things together. I love that we have creative control. In the past it wasn’t like that. We had a record deal and it was very contrived. But now, and I feel like it’s because we know who we are and we finally have the music, we’re saying what we want to say. It just feels good to be able to do that.
Do you guys share clothes?
Yes, definitely! We share everything now.
Tell me about the new music that you guys are making.
A lot of people ask us who we can compare ourselves to, and I know all artists hate that. But I feel like now, if the Spice Girls and the Fugees had a love child, it would be us.
Oh! That’s a good description.
Like even our message, because you know the Fugees were also refugees. They made it cool to be a refugee, or like it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. They were open about it… in America it was cool to be a refugee. And then the Spice Girls represented girl power and preached about how it was okay to be yourself!
If you were a Spice Girl, which one would you be?
Scary Spice and Sporty Spice! And that’s actually what we were for Halloween too.
What’s your working relationship like?
Our names mean “faith” and “arrow,” and that definitely represents who we are as people. Iman always keeps the faith a lot and I’m always like no, we need to figure out the direction. I’m the arrow.
What can we expect from you guys next?
Everything! Our EP is coming out on July 15th. It’s titled Lost.
What’s your favorite song on it?
It’s funny because it always changes, but right now my favorite song is “Chasing Highs.” And “Werk,” but it’s spelled W-E-R-K.
Photos by Maddie Cordoba