“Our show is a church of heavy metal. I hope everyone will put their weapons down and listen to metal. That’s my Utopia.” ~ Orphaned Land Frontman Kobi Farhi
Metal Hammer recently released an article in which the Orphaned Land Frontman Kobi Farhi opens his heart up about the current Israeli and Palestinian conflict. For those of you who don’t know about Orphaned Land, they are a Israeli Folk Metal (former death metal) band that writes music about conflict in the Middle East. As a token of goodwill, Farhi even shared a Metal Hammer award with his Palestinian tour mate of the band Khalas. He states that the only thing he and Khalas argue about is “who will pay for the beer.”
Yet now the lives of people in Palestine and Israel have turned into a nightmare, as these places have turned into a war zone once again. Yet Farhi didn’t just speak out about this violence, but about the general bloodshed in the Middle East – referring to the tragedies in Syria and Iraq.
“We feel like we’re some of very few awakened from a deep slumber. It’s not just Israel and Gaza. Look what happens in Syria, look what happens in Iraq with Isis. The place is full of weapons, fire and death. Terrible things are happening – and we can’t stop them with our guitars and lyrics.”
The video above discusses the topic of children being handed toy guns and taught hatred from a young age, instead of being taught about life and how to have a dialogue with one’s enemy.
While times look dark, there is a tiny flicker of hope in the power of music and art. Maybe one day we can use the power of art and music to achieve a real global dialogue and a lasting peace.
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