Over the years many concerts and festivals have sought to unite people all over the world with a message of peace and solidarity. Now, the heavy metal Israeli band Orphaned Land, along with the Palestinian group Khalas and other artists, are striving to bring hope to people with different political and religious backgrounds, showing them they can co-exist.
Orphaned Land is a metal band which, according to its website, tours the world to bring a message of peace and unity to people with different religious and political beliefs. Their philosophy is straightforward: “People should be judged by their hearts and inner sincerity, not their religious beliefs.”
With the aim of breaking down barriers and uniting diverse communities, Orphaned Land is joining forces with several other supporting bands for an 18 gig tour in over six countries in Europe entitled “All is One.” Bands from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and France will play together as one to share a message of co-existence to the world.
Perhaps the most surprising collaboration is that bringing together Orphaned Land and Khalas. While the Israeli and Palestinian peoples remain locked in an age-old conflict over land the bands want to show that co-existence is possible and that people can find common ground regardless of the issues that divide them.
The Guardian newspaper says the two bands met at a radio station and “become soul mates” – in the words of Orphaned Land’s lead singer, Kobi Farhi – when they realised more united them than separated them. The bands will now share the same stage and a bus tour for three weeks. “We are metal brothers before everything,” said Khalas’ lead guitarist, Abed Hathut, at a concert to launch their tour in Tel Aviv last week: “There is no bigger message for peace than through this tour.”
This is not, however, the first artistic collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians. The West-Eastern Divan, founded in 1998 by Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian author Edward Said, promotes a cultural dialogue between Israelis and Arabs. The two artists co-founded an orchestra of young Israeli and Arab musicians.
Roger Waters, the co-founder of the band Pink Floyd also performed several times at the Israeli Jewish and Israeli Muslim Village of Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām (NSWAS) with the message: “Tear down the wall!”
Orphaned Land hopes this tour will encourage collaboration between artists with different cultural backgrounds. As for the band’s friendship with Khalas, they believe it will continue to blossom, maybe even one day leading to their children playing in a band together.