Israeli-Arab and Jewish Bands Unite for ‘Metal Brotherhood’ Peace Tour
by Zach Pontz
Musicians from an Israeli-Arab and a Jewish band have come together with one message: it’s possible, even preferable, to co-exist, and they’re doing it under the banner of a ‘metal brotherhood.’
Israeli-Arab group Khalas (Arabic for “Enough”) and Jewish band Orphaned Land have already played two shows together in Tel Aviv, and are now heading out on an 18-day European tour that they hope will foster tolerance between the two sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict, writes CNN.com.
“We want to share the stage together, we want to show co-existence,” said Kobi Farhi, Orphaned Land’s vocalist.
The bands will share a tour bus for the three-week tour, a perfect example of two dissonant cultures coexisting, Farhi told CNN.
“We will snore at each other, we will do laundry together, we will make coffee for each other,” he said.
Khalas and Orphaned Land’s tour was sparked by Farhi’s friendship with Abed Hathout, Khalas’ guitarist and band manager.
The pair bonded over their mutual love of heavy metal with a Middle Eastern twist after meeting at a radio station almost a decade ago.
Both bands blend classic heavy metal elements with Middle Eastern rhythms and instruments like violins and flutes. They call it Oriental Metal.
“We take the rock ‘n roll of the West, put it through our Middle Eastern filters, and throw it back,” said Hathout.
However, the two bands take a different approach lyrically. Orphaned Land’s lyrics are often political, observing the Middle East’s governments and religions. Khalas’ latest album features metal covers of ’80s Arab wedding songs.
“Khalas doesn’t deal with politics,” said Hathout. “It’s not because we are not connected to our people or we don’t care, but there are so many people talking about the occupation,” he said, adding “I have the right to write about having fun and love and drinking beer.”
“You might say (going on tour together) is a PR cliche or a gimmick… but it’s simply a translation of me and Abed’s brotherhood,” Farhi told CNN.
While Farhi admits this might not translate into a peace deal, as negotiations resume this Wednesday, in Jerusalem, he argues that “you can always show a way for people to take inspiration.”