Name:Jennifer LabbanInstructor:Dr. May MayassiFall2017/2018HMS140 Why didOrphaned Land fail to convey their message?Orphaned Land is anIsraeli oriental doom death metal band that was named Resurrection in itsearlier days; it was formed in 1991 and it has always combined Jewish, Arabic,and other West Asian influences. Different band members were changed throughoutthe years but only two founding members remain to this day: Kobi Farhi, thevocalist of the band, and Uri Zelcha, the bassist.
They are known for theirmessages that they convey in their lyrics; they encourage peace and unitybetween religions. They play progressive, doom, death metal and mostly orientalmetal. The albums they created have different concepts; the first one releasedin 1994 is named Sahara, which was more of a demo; it was like an introductionof what would they release in their future years.
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The second one released in1996 is named El Norra Alila, which means Illustrious God, it is mostlyoriental and it is actually based on a poem that Jewish people sing on the dayof atonement called Yom Kippur, which is their holiest day. The third albumreleased in 2004 is named Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven. Thestory depicts three sons, each from an Abrahamic religion, trying to alertpeople that a flood is coming their way to punish them for their sins. Afterthat, they released follow-ups to Mabool like The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR. The last album released in 2013 is entitledAll is One, but don’t let the name of the album fool you; it is their darkestalbum. There is one more album that will be released in January 2018 titled UnsungProphets and Dead Messiahs, which is said to be the biggest production made bythem so far. Each of their albums is usuallyconsidered as one big musical journey, they share feelings of anger, joy, andfear. Despite the fact that their songs include many prayers and biblicalthemes, they are not religious people with the aim of preaching; the bandmembers identified themselves as atheists with a big message of peace to theworld.
The name of the band Orphaned Landis a paraphrase they used to name the holy land, which is also the PromisedLand that is supposed to be sacred, but instead it was a place for wars andterror. It’s a multicultural band that likes to use different languages in thesongs while exploring them. They even have a choir that constitutes 25 peoplesinging either in Latin or Hebrew or Arabic or English.In the year 2011, aLebanese belly dancer Johanna Fakhri performed alongside this Israeli band atthe Hellfest music festival in the western French town of Clisson.
It was ausual thing for a belly dancer to go on stage with them because of the band’suse of oriental music. Before the performance, Fakhri suggested raising theLebanese flag alongside the Israeli flag while insisting on that idea. The leadsinger Kobi Farhi even told her about the danger and criticism that her actionmay cause her; she didn’t care about all this but rather she showed her belief thatdespite 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, and thenFarhi tells the crowd at the concert “This is all about peace, my friends, andwe are all brothers and sisters. Now I want to see all of you jumping and partywith us, okay?” and the consequences started right after the concert. Shethought of looking at the future with an open mind but because of therepresentation of her point of view, she started receiving death threats andwas banned to come back to Lebanon so she stayed in France. Even Egyptian authorities put a fanin prison for six months for “Satanism” after they found a CD for this bandwith him. If music is satanic then what is everything else? We are living in aclosed-minded world that doesn’t let anybody have mental freedom.
People arechoosing to follow societal traditions while being mental slaves. We evenchange our identities in order to fit in and be part of this society that onlycares about enslaving us. Not only we don’t have the freedom to think forourselves, we’re not able to question anything; we end up accepting thesituation without our will. Moreover, why do politics should always be involvedin matters that should bring people together such as music and sports? It issad that we’re not able to express ourselves through anything without beingcriticized.
Somehow, music influences political movements in many cultures.Songs often are used to convey a political message but with limits, it isessential to know the history that inspired the musicians to write a certainsong. We should keep in mind that is notalways known how the music will affect the audience. The positive thing is thatthe message that the artists are working hard to give is bringing people fromdifferent cultures together. In the case of Orphaned Land, the band membersconsider that music is the most powerful force and they were able to see how theirfans are reacting to what they convey.
It is a political band that alwayshighlighted the circumstances that are taking place in the Middle East. Not toforget to mention that most of their fans are Arabs. Israelis and Arabs should beenemies, the politicians don’t let us forget that with the help of the mediabut it is the will of the people that help bring peace to our lands.
On theother hand, we are living in a somewhat primitive world where we are hugelyinfluenced by barbarism even though we can be the complete opposite and be kindto one another only if we can use our minds the way it should be used. If welook at the nature of our divine self, we feel the love, peace and joy withoutthe influence of anyone or anything. Moreover, it’s desire that exists in us,and we desire to know the Self, hence love, peace, and joy are within our Self.If we put our focus on the words that speak only the truth then we’ll becomecloser to the Self and maybe then suffering will end. Their album titledAll is One is one of the most tragic ones, though its message revolves aroundunity, it is unfortunate that the world fails to see the clear and simplemessage that we need to see desperately.
The music produced in this album isdifferent than all the others since they needed clean vocals instead of growlvocals to clearly convey their message. The songs speak about the tragedytaking place in the Arab region; it’s a dream to be all connected to eachother, and become one. The whole album All is One actually represents Utopiawhere everything is perfect, bringing together all the three Abrahamicreligions; it is shown in the logo where the cross, the star and the crescentare put together. Even though the song All is One is uplifting while lettingthe people see how the society suffered and still is because of never endingproblems. They are even abused by religious people who don’t let an individualthink for himself; there always should be rules and limits.
Imagine ifindividuals wore big long t-shirts, had long hair and tattoos in Egypt, Syriaor even Lebanon, they will be considered as freaks or Satanists right awaywithout a second thought. People tend to judge others right away and sadly,judging leads to hate and wrongful thinking instead of letting each otherbecome the way they are. If we think it through, we are not only one ashumanity but we even share similar DNA; we are all part of this universetogether. What is really sad is that despite the fact that we are all one ashuman beings, we surely fail to see that, no matter what we’re going through. The second song is titled A SimpleMan, it is basically telling the story about a guy who has the abilities to bea leader so he can take many people after him as a shepherd and at the samehe’s just a simple man. Since long ago and until now, we tend to follow peoplewith strength of character but the message continues to tell us that each oneof us is the shepherd and we need to stay as simple as we are instead of beingtrapped 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 theBible. It shows how despite the fact that we are brothers, we still hate eachother like enemies.
It is a letter written from Isaac’s point of view for hisbrother Ismael to forgive him in a way telling him that he misses him and maybethey can work this out. We can see how people shape reality and history the waythey want; the hate is becoming so strong. Furthermore, the fourth song Letthe Truce Be Known is an inspiration from the Christmas truce that happened inWorld War I. It tells the story of the soldiers who took a break from war foronly one night and celebrated Christmas together; they drank together, laughedtogether and switched presents, even hugged and kissed each other. The Utopiaexisted only in the few hours when the war stopped and the human spirits roseabove conflicts and struggles. But unfortunately, the next day they had to killeach other; they were trapped in a war they don’t know the purpose of it anddidn’t want to be in it. This is a tragedy of our region, even if we liftourselves up for one moment we’re still trapped in this turmoil of blood.
The fifth song is titled ThroughFire and Water is one of the most optimistic songs on the album. It is writtenin Hebrew and Arabic, and it says that despite the love, the war and thebloodshed, through fire and water I will go with you because this is the truemeaning of love. All the difficulties disappear in the name of love.
Also, theguest in the song is a Palestinian singer named Mira Awwad. This type of loveis similar to euphoria because it is so hard to have this impossible love inthe Middle East. Unfortunately the hate is blinding the people while leavinglove behind. The sixth song is called Fail whichis an angry manifest to why do we fail to see that All is One. It is the waythat the media, religious leaders and politicians brainwash the people.
Anyleader can seriously have charisma and we will follow him without looking backbecause we are followers of the media and we walk towards our death very easilyjust like sheep follow the shepherd. This mental manipulation limits ourfreethinking; the mass media has become the number one influence concerningterrorism and politics. In modern culture, the media is creating the cultureitself. We see televisions, billboards and magazines everywhere we go; theycatch our eyes immediately and the messages we get usually affect our moods andattitudes. It all has become larger than any of us. The seventh song is an instrumentalsong titled Freedom; it fits to be at that spot because after all thetragedies, sometimes you just want to breathe and feel the freedom that we don’tactually have and don’t enjoy at all. We need balance in our lives in order tosurvive and have control over ourselves.
Only then we will be able to bemotivated again and move on. The eighth song is called Shama’im;one of the most famous Israeli songwriters named Yehuda Poliker offered towrite it. It is written in a way to describe the situation of the Middle Eastand Israel in his own melancholic kind of way. It is in Hebrew but there is anEnglish translation as well so people will understand the lyrics. It talksabout the propaganda of the mass media that influences people and starts everyaction while always being in the way of denial. The ninth song is called Ya Benaye;it is a folklore song, sung and written in Yemenite language by an Israeliartist whose sons also sung with him. The tenth is titled Our OwnMessiah, which asks a simple question, how can it be that we pray for so manyyears, decades and centuries, everyone with his own God, waiting for a Messiahto come and solve all the problems in the world that are leading to wars butnothing happened. People are still killing each other, wars are all over theworld and human beings are dying everywhere.
It is not only a Middle Easternproblem, people are poor in all countries, bloodsheds are happening here andthere. We still keep on praying non-stop and no situation is fixed. So whydon’t we educate ourselves to solve the problems we face? We are the ones whocan change the situation and make it better. As long as we are still alive, educationshould be our key to face corruption. The eleventh song is calledChildren; it is the most tragic song that Orphaned Land ever wrote.
It is aboutthe children of Syria; more specifically it is dedicated to the ones who aretrapped in fire everywhere while the adults are throwing bombs at each other. It’sa terrible situation that can’t be accepted. We’re coming from a region wherechildren are literally suffering and their future is doomed. Their innocence islong gone and the situation can’t be fixed.
It is written from the eyes andvoice of a child who is trying to ask questions to know the reasons why this ishappening to him and the most meaningful question is the one addressed to hisparents: “must I grow to be like you?” Whatever that may happen, our parentsinspire us, hence we act like them. This is how it all becomes a loop, eventhough the children are innocent, they eventually grow to be like theirparents. It is really bad to see that wefail to see the message that all is one; we never see what the power within uscan make.
What do wars achieve? Thousands of children are dying everywhere, andthe world is in denial. When we realize how harsh and critical the situationis, we come to think of solutions that will bring us together but then againsomething bigger than us happens and we fall on our knees. We definitely educateourselves in a wrong way; for example the most common gift given to children istoy guns. This is when the problem begins, imagine a six years old kid killingpeople in a computer game, is it just a game? It’s absolutely not. It playswith their minds and lets them think that it is right to kill. What about thekids who paint on missiles? This is the way the children of our countries aredrifting away and dying. People from different countries can really be in the same placewhere hate is forgotten and only brotherhood and unity is remembered.
Themessage of peace is the most important one but there’s so much hate in theworld. And instead of finding ways to leave wars behind us, the politicians arestill leading our armies to fight. Of course, we are so small compared to theworld but the secret for peace lies in unity. We can make the world a betterplace, maybe by delivering messages with music like Orphaned Land is doing.People from all over the world attend their concerts and the band members askthe audience to bring the flags of their countries with them.
When they are allin the same concert, they forget the hate and the wars; their focus is onunification and love. There’s always a fear of what tomorrow may bring, we needto see the misery we’re in so we can evolve. Spreading love and compassion willlead to a good result; our reality could be changed if we decide to help eachother.
No one is born as a bad or evil person, we learn how to label our enemybased on the country he or she comes from but what about learning how to loveone 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-farhihttps://www.rockurlife.net/interview/english/orphaned-land-16-05-13http://www.bloodygoodhorror.com/bgh/interviews/07/15/2013/proving-that-all-is-one-a-conversation-with-orphaned-land