Since magic can’t be described, I won’t bother. Should I have Byron’s eloquence, I could not entirely convey Middle-Eastern charm to those who do not carry it.
Where should I begin… Until recently, I wasn’t the first ORPHANED LAND fan, despite my hunger for Oriental Metal. There’s an explanation: like I witnessed tonight, the band’s older albums are more complex: distinctly „progressive“, as the favourite word of many. Abrupt rhythmic changes, and all the signifiers of the genre. I heard too much rock, if you may. Rock is of course never superfluous; yet „truth“ is in the blood, in authenticity and heritage. Not only melody is the height in musicianship per se, but the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa have been blessed with melody by birth. This is what Orphaned Land exploit to the fullest in their latest rendition, doing it seamlessly: being exquisite while simple, intense while unaggressive. I would gladly drop the little-meaning „progressive“ and replace it with „fusion“… a wonderful ethno-metal fusion. Metal can, indeed, be sheer joy. It can be a flow.
To my delight, the band played most of their new songs. The musical height was possibly Let The Truce Be Known. However, that’s relative; everything was full of finesse and emotion. It is not every day we love an album, and hearing it live matches or surpasses the recording. (Not every day we encounter a REAL band…) Exquisite lines and ornaments, radiance emanated by band members… a concert passing a restraint sentence to language while redeeming Music to its pedestal.
This was indeed a special concert to me. I had a favourite live performance by ORPHANED LAND, namely Estarabim… I was all too glad to encounter a few Turkish fans who supported my wish, and we all sang and danced frantically to our song. Then again, I heard everyone tonight „got theirs“. Everyone was special.
What better embodiment of ‘All Is One’?
A Bulgarian documentary comes to mind: ‘Whose Is This Song’. It told about a song whom all Balkan peoples thought was theirs, and they were even prepared to go to war for it. (I know the song as Turkish Katibim, and also as Bulgarian Strandzha mountain revolutionary anthem.) In some countries the melody turned to love song, in others – to war anthem. Yet the melody itself is obviously from the Middle East.
It is but A SONG.
And the sensuality and grace, and gentleness of our nations turning to aggression is insane.
I got far more than I bargained for, with Orphaned Land. They (nearly) finished with my favourite Ye Benaye. On top, they interpreted another favourite of mine, ‘The Yemenite Song’ I knew and loved from Ofra Haza.
Their „Aideeeee“ barely allowed us to stop for a second and relish, and contemplate „Children“ – dedicated to the Syrian little ones.
So diverse and vivid are ORPHANED LAND in their emotion… So humane.
11.10.2013, Sofia, MixTape 5