donderdag 2 december 2010

In Iran, “Jewish Muslim Metal” Band from Israel bridges cultural divides

It doesn’t take much for Israel to appear on the front pages of newspapers and magazines in the Middle East. Through all of the conflict and controversy in the region, there is one particular shining ray of hope, and it comes in the form of an Israeli heavy metal band called Orphaned Land.
Just a few weeks ago, the Israeli band, which consists of Jews and Muslims, landed the cover story of ‘Divan,’ an Iranian magazine billed as Iran’s “first exclusive rock and metal magazine.”

Israel’s Orphaned Land is doing the unthinkable, uniting the Muslim world and Israel. Having been called “the most important metal band in the Middle East” by author Mark Levine in his book “Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam”, Orphaned Land is wildly popular among Arabs, Turks, and Iranians. One of the band’s recipes for success is that they truly embrace music as a universal language, incorporating prog rock and death metal from the West with both Jewish and Arabic influences. The result is something that transcends borders, stereotypes, and even politics.

“I am amazed again to see the power music has to break down walls and barriers that politicians put up,” said lead singer Kobi Farhi. “It’s a great accomplishment that we add to the list of our career achievements, especially over the past year. I am still in shock; I don’t know what to say.”

Rather than boycott the Israeli band, Muslims are some of Orphaned Land’s biggest fans. The only time politics gets in the way is when they want to perform for their fans. Touring all over the world, including America, the U.K., Turkey, France, and Germany, Orphaned Land is currently awaiting an invitation from Tehran (apparently Ahmadinejad believes “there are no metalheads in Iran”).