Orphaned Land

Founded: 1991

Location: Israel

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Orphaned Land

Orphaned Land is an Israeli metal band formed in 1991. They are known to combine Mizrahi and Maghrebi Jewish, Arabic, Turkish, and other Middle Eastern and North African musical elements, with metal (with particular influence from Yemenite Jewish and, in their early years, Moroccan Jewish Music), as well as from Sephardic music, and other sounds from the Mediterranean. They have also included "metalized" versions of various pityyutim in all of their albums since El Norra Alila. The band are considered to be the pioneers of oriental metal. Orphaned Land have gone through several lineup changes over the years, but have retained two founding members of the band, Kobi Farhi (vocals) and Uri Zelcha (bass). They are joined by Matan Shmuely (drums), Chen Balbus (guitars/saz) who replaced co-founding member Matti Svatizky in 2012, and Idan Amsalem (guitars/bouzouki) who replaced co-founding member Yossi Sassi in early 2014. Their lyrics promote a message of peace and unity, particularly between the three main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity). The name "Orphaned Land" comes from the lyrics of a Yehuda Poliker song and reflects "a paradox" to the term "Holy Land." Four of their six albums are concept albums relating to the concept of Light and darkness.Despite Orphaned Land's songs drawing on biblical themes, the band have said that they are not religious, with the majority of the band members identifying as atheist or agnostic, and are known for their ambivalence towards organized religion, blaming it as the cause of bloodshed and hatred. Kobi Farhi claims that metal is a kind of "religion."Orphaned Land has developed a large following, "tens of thousands of fans," across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Iran, and have been described as "ambassadors of peace" for their message of unity, despite the heavy metal genre being considered taboo in, and with Israel being considered an enemy of many of these countries. In the Arab world, metal music is part of the underground - Orphaned Land once toured in Europe with a Jordanian band who wasn't allowed to play in their home country. In 2013, Orphaned Land toured Europe with the Palestinian band Khalas which Farhi claims proved that Jewish-Muslim coexistence is possible. The two bands would issue a split album with each other in 2021, entitled "The Peace Series Vol 1." The only Islamic country in which the band has played is Turkey; however, they were invited to play Dubai, but the show was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have played in Turkey over 25 times which Muslim fans all over the world would attend, especially those from the Middle East, Iran, and Morocco. Orphaned Land is also known for having a large Haredi following, as well.


1994 Sahara
1996 El Norra Alila
2004 Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven
2010 The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
2013 All Is One

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