Orphaned Land – Building Bridges Between Muslims and Jews

Israeli Folk Metal Band’s New Ballad: “Brother”

Orphaned Band is a very popular Folk Metal band (with elements of death metal in their earlier work) in both the Middle East and abroad. They are an Israeli based band that focuses on using their music to mend bridges between the Jewish and Muslim community. They have even performed shows with a famous Belly Dancer from Lebanon (I have discussed this in a previous Metal Gaia Post).

Music has a deep spiritual power to do what Politics cannot, it has the magic to bring adverse people together by sending a message to the heart.

This particular Ballad “Brother” is especially touching for those familiar with the root of the Jewish/Muslim conflict.

Societies rely on social narratives and the mythos of their peoples to guide their actions, much like how the Greeks would cite the Odyssey for wisdom in battles that happened hundreds of years after the story began.

In the particular case of Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, the story of Abraham’s sons in both the Bible and the Koran has become a metaphor for the geopolitical conflict that would unleash for hundreds of years. For those unfamiliar with the tale, I will give a brief explanation.

Abraham was a man who wanted a son. He ended up begetting a son named Ishmael to his wife’s handmaiden, Hagar. He then later had another son with his actual wife, Sarah. This son’s name was Issac. Ishmael would become the metaphorical father of the Muslim people and Issac the father of the Jewish people. Sarah ended up becoming jealous of her handmaiden in this story and had her cast out into the desert along with Ishmael. Thus beginning the separation between two brothers and two similar but divided religions.

While some use this story as an incitement for war, the band Orphaned Land uses this tale to stress a brotherly connection between the two religious groups and the need for reconciliation.


(A plea of Itzhak to Ishmael)
This story began before I was born
A childless woman cried sadly at home
Her maid gave birth to a child of her own
My father felt joy yet he was torn
A conflict began one day at dawn
The maid took your hand and you were gone
To the desert you left, towards the unknown
I reckon you were so alone
God will hear you oh, my blood
For the years you roamed in dirt and mud
Forsaken like a nomad, deserted in the flood
Forgive me, brother
You did nothing wrong and took all the shame
I suffered myself, yet I am to blame
The lord blessed us both, but we still fight and claim
That kid on the mountain, – what was his name?
Brother hear my plea tonight
I grew tired from these endless years of (Our) fight
From a tiny corner stone we may build our realm of light
Please hear me, brother

10 responses

  1. Tormund Giantsbane

    They are not Death Metal.Nothing in their music resembles Death Metal.

    (Will see them live in November.)

    June 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    • I suppose I should edit that statement. They were more deathy/doomy in their earlier music. 1996 stuff, “el norra alila” era. I wouldn’t say it was all out death, but there was elements of death in their music mixed with folk, i.e. the growling vocals, shredding guitar, heavy distortion, and vaguely death metal drums. But yes, they have become more folk oriented over time and less hard.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    • Enjoy the show in November!

      June 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  2. June 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    • Tormund Giantsbane

      Honestly,I only started listening to this band in their later years;I wasn’t aware of their earlier music – clearly doom-influenced death.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      • No worries.

        June 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  3. The song above is an example of their older style.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

  4. MG – i had a hard time hearing the words to this song, but they are at the YT source site, so you might want to paste them into the post as they are most profound. Nice music especially with the violins, and definitely different from their heavier times.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

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