As tensions between Israel and Turkey rise and embassy in Cairo attacked, Orphaned Land welcomed by 5,000 Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian and Iranian fans. 'It was an emotionally moving experience,' lead singer tells Ynet Or Barnea
Over the past few years, Israeli metal band Orphaned Land has become one of the Jewish state's cultural ambassadors thanks to its popularity in the Arab world, but Saturday night marked one of the most unusual and exciting moments in the group's history.
As the tensions between Israel and Turkey continued to rise, and after the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was attacked by an angry mob, the Israeli musicians performed in Istanbul in front of an audience of some 5,000 fans from Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Iran.
The concert was part of the Unirock Open Air Festival. Before taking to the stage, the band members met with 50 fans from Iran. "It was insane,"
lead singer Kobi Farhi told Ynet. "They brought everyone backstage and told us how much they loved us. They said rock music was banned in Iran and that some of them would not be able to return home because they came to the concert. "At that moment we saw good and pure people, and we also realized what they had to go through to listen to the band they love. They all posed for photos with us with Iranian flags, and it was an emotionally moving experience."
The band is expected to give another concert in Turkey in about two weeks and to launch a long European tour in November. "I still don't know how to go about it,"
said Farhi about the band's role in the Arab world. "In our reality, we're in a mess with Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey, and then an audience comes to see us from all these countries. We become stronger and unwillingly turn into ambassadors. It's amazing when you understand how much courage these people have."
Farhi told Ynet that during its stay in Istanbul, the band received a lot of media attention and its members were asked if they were not afraid of being targeted because of the tense relations between the countries. "My response is always, 'So what do you want us to do? Sit at home?"
he said. "I admit that during the concert the thought of being hit in the head with a bullet did cross my mind, but if something bad has to happen to me – it's better than sitting at home. "These were my thoughts during one song only. Yesterday night I felt like I had won, like I had been awarded the privilege of doing something important in this world."