Orphaned progressive, doom, death metal and mostly oriental

Orphaned Land is an
Israeli oriental doom death metal band that was named Resurrection in its
earlier days; it was formed in 1991 and it has always combined Jewish, Arabic,
and other West Asian influences. Different band members were changed throughout
the years but only two founding members remain to this day: Kobi Farhi, the
vocalist of the band, and Uri Zelcha, the bassist. They are known for their
messages that they convey in their lyrics; they encourage peace and unity
between religions. They play progressive, doom, death metal and mostly oriental
metal. The albums they created have different concepts; the first one released
in 1994 is named Sahara, which was more of a demo; it was like an introduction
of what would they release in their future years. The second one released in
1996 is named El Norra Alila, which means Illustrious God, it is mostly
oriental and it is actually based on a poem that Jewish people sing on the day
of atonement called Yom Kippur, which is their holiest day. The third album
released in 2004 is named Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven. The
story depicts three sons, each from an Abrahamic religion, trying to alert
people that a flood is coming their way to punish them for their sins. After
that, they released follow-ups to Mabool like The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR.  The last album released in 2013 is entitled
All is One, but don’t let the name of the album fool you; it is their darkest
album. There is one more album that will be released in January 2018 titled Unsung
Prophets and Dead Messiahs, which is said to be the biggest production made by
them so far.

Each of their albums is usually
considered as one big musical journey, they share feelings of anger, joy, and
fear. Despite the fact that their songs include many prayers and biblical
themes, they are not religious people with the aim of preaching; the band
members identified themselves as atheists with a big message of peace to the
world.

The name of the band Orphaned Land
is a paraphrase they used to name the holy land, which is also the Promised
Land that is supposed to be sacred, but instead it was a place for wars and
terror. It’s a multicultural band that likes to use different languages in the
songs while exploring them. They even have a choir that constitutes 25 people
singing either in Latin or Hebrew or Arabic or English.

In
the year 2011, a Lebanese belly dancer Johanna Fakhri performed alongside this
Israeli band at the Hellfest music festival in the western French town of
Clisson. It was a usual thing for a belly dancer to go on stage with them
because of the band’s use of oriental music. Before the performance, Fakhri
suggested raising the Lebanese flag alongside the Israeli flag while insisting
on that idea. The lead singer Kobi Farhi even told her about the danger and
criticism that her action may cause her; she didn’t care about all this but
rather she showed her belief that despite the war that took place in July 2006
in Lebanon, we are all one, brothers and sisters. During the show, she raised
the Lebanese flag, then Farhi tells the crowd at the concert “This is all about
peace, my friends, and we are all brothers and sisters. Now I want to see all
of you jumping and party with us, okay?” and the consequences started right
after the concert. She thought of looking at the future with an open mind but
because of the representation of her point of view, she started receiving death
threats and was banned to come back to Lebanon so she stayed in France.

Even Egyptian authorities put a fan
in prison for six months for “Satanism” after they found a CD for this band
with him. If music is satanic then what is everything else? We are living in a
closed-minded world that doesn’t let anybody have mental freedom. People are
choosing to follow societal traditions while being mental slaves. We even
change our identities in order to fit in and be part of this society that only
cares about enslaving us. Not only we don’t have the freedom to think for
ourselves, we’re not able to question anything; we end up accepting the
situation without our will. Moreover, why do politics should always be involved
in matters that should bring people together such as music and sports? It is
sad that we’re not able to express ourselves through anything without being
criticized. Somehow, music influences political movements in many cultures.

Songs often are used to convey a political message but with limits, it is
essential to know the history that inspired the musicians to write a certain
song.  We should keep in mind that is not
always known how the music will affect the audience. The positive thing is that
the message that the artists are working hard to give is bringing people from
different cultures together. In the case of Orphaned Land, the band members
consider that music is the most powerful force and they were able to see how
their fans are reacting to what they convey. It is a political band that always
highlighted the circumstances that are taking place in the Middle East. Not to
forget to mention that most of their fans are Arabs. Israelis and Arabs should be
enemies, the politicians don’t let us forget that with the help of the media
but it is the will of the people that help bring peace to our lands.

Their album titled All
is One is one of the most tragic ones, though its message revolves around
unity, it is unfortunate that the world fails to see the clear and simple
message that we need to see. The music produced in this album is different than
all the others since they needed clean vocals instead of growl vocals. The
songs speak about the tragedy taking place in the Arab region; it’s a dream to
be all connected to each other, and become one. The whole album All is One
actually represents Utopia where everything is perfect, bringing together all
the three Abrahamic religions; it is shown in the logo where the cross, the
star and the crescent are put together. Even though the song All is One is
uplifting while letting the people see how the society suffered and still are
because of no ending problems. They are even abused by religious people.

Imagine if individuals wore big long t-shirts, had long hair and tattoos in
Egypt, Syria or even Lebanon, they will be considered as freaks or Satanists right
away without a second thought. Despite the fact that we are all one as human
beings, we surely fail to see that no matter what we’re going through. The
second song is titled A Simple Man, it is basically telling the story about a
guy who has the abilities to be a leader so he can take many people after him
as a shepherd and at the same he’s just a simple man. Since long ago and until
now, we tend to follow people with strength of character but the message
continues to tell us that each one of us is the shepherd and we need to stay as
simple as we are instead of being trapped in our world.

The third song is called Brother,
it’s based on the story of Isaac, who is the father of all Jews, and Ismael,
who is the father of all Arabs but they are both the sons of Abraham in the
Bible. It shows how despite the fact that we are brothers, we still hate each
other like enemies. It is a letter written from Isaac’s point of view for his
brother Ismael to forgive him in a way telling him that he misses him and maybe
they can work this out. We can see how people shape reality and history the way
they want; the hate is becoming so strong.

Furthermore, the fourth song Let
the Truce Be Known is an inspiration from the Christmas truce that happened in
World War I. It tells the story of the soldiers who took a break from war for
only one night and celebrated Christmas together; they drank together, laughed
together and switched presents, even hugged and kissed each other. The Utopia
existed only in the few hours when the war stopped and the human spirits rose
above conflicts and struggles. But unfortunately, the next day they had to kill
each other; they are trapped in a war they don’t know the purpose of it and
don’t want to be in it. This is a tragedy of our region, even if we lift
ourselves up for one moment we’re still trapped in this turmoil of blood.

The fifth song is titled Through
Fire and Water is one of the most optimistic songs on the album. It is written
in Hebrew and Arabic, and it says that despite the love, the war and the
bloodshed, through fire and water I will go with you because this is the true
meaning of love. All the difficulties disappear in the name of love. Also, the
guest in the song is a Palestinian singer named Mira Awwad. This type of love
is similar to euphoria because it is so hard to have this impossible love in
the Middle East.

The sixth song is called Fail which
is an angry manifest to why do we fail to see that All is One. It is the way
that the media, religious leaders and politicians brainwash the people. Any
leader can seriously have charisma and we will follow him without looking back
because we are followers of the media and we walk towards our death very
easily.

The seventh song is an instrumental
song titled Freedom; it fits to be at that spot because after all the
tragedies, sometimes you just want to breathe and feel the freedom that we
don’t actually have and don’t enjoy at all.

The eighth song is called Shama’im;
an Israeli artist named Yehuda Poliker who is one of the most famous Israeli
songwriters offered to write it. It is written in a way to describe the
situation of the Middle East and Israel on his own melancholic kind of way. It
is in Hebrew but there is an English translation as well so people will
understand the lyrics.

The ninth song is called Ya Benaye;
it is a folklore song, sung and written in Yemenite language by an Israeli
artist whose sons also sung with him.

The tenth is titled Our Own
Messiah, which asks a simple question, how can it be that we pray for so many
years, decades and centuries, everyone with his own God, waiting for a Messiah
but nothing happened. People are still killing each other, war is all over the
world and human beings are dying everywhere. It is not only a Middle Eastern
problem, people are poor in all countries, bloodsheds are happening. We still
keep on praying non-stop and no situation is fixed. So why don’t we educate
ourselves to solve the problems we face?

The eleventh song is called
Children; it is the most tragic song that Orphaned Land ever wrote. It is about
the children of Syria; more specifically it is dedicated to the ones who are
trapped in fire everywhere and the adults are throwing bombs at each other. It’s
a terrible situation that can’t be accepted. We’re coming from a region where
children are literally suffering and their future is doomed. Their innocence is
long gone and the situation can’t be fixed. It is written from the eyes and
voice of a child who is trying to ask questions to know the reasons why this is
happening to him and the most meaningful question is the one addressed to his
parents: must I grow to be like you? Whatever that may happen, our parents
inspire us, hence we act like them. This all becomes a loop, even though the
children are innocent, they eventually grow to be like their parents.

It is really bad to see that we
fail to see the message that all is one, we never do. What do wars achieve?
Thousands of children are dying everywhere, and the world is in denial. When we
realize how harsh and critical the situation is, we come to think of solutions
that will bring us together but then again something bigger than us happens and
we fall on our knees. We definitely educate ourselves in a wrong way; the most
common gift given to children is toy guns. This is when the problem begins,
imagine a six years old kid killing people in a computer game, is it just a
game? It’s absolutely not. It plays with their minds and lets them think that
it is right to kill. What about the kids who paint on missiles? This is the way
the children of our countries are drifting away and dying. People from
different countries can really be in the same place
where hate is forgotten and only brotherhood and unity is remembered. The message
of peace is the most important one, there’s so much hate in the world and
instead of finding ways to leave wars behind us, and the politicians are still
leading our armies to fight. Of course, the world is bigger than us but the secret
for peace lies in unity. We can make the world a better place, maybe by
delivering messages with music like Orphaned Land is doing. People from all
over the world attend their concerts and the band members ask the audience bring
the flags of their countries with them. There’s always a fear of what tomorrow
may bring, we need to see the misery we’re in so we can evolve. Spreading love
and compassion will lead to a good result; our reality could be changed if we
decide to help each other. No one is born as a bad or evil person, we learn to label
our enemy based on the country he or she comes from but what about learning how
to love one another despite the hate that others created?

 

References:

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/a_message_of_peace_or_hate_

http://noisefull.com/interviews/orphaned-land-kobi-farhi

ORPHANED LAND (16/05/13)

http://www.bloodygoodhorror.com/bgh/interviews/07/15/2013/proving-that-all-is-one-a-conversation-with-orphaned-land