Heavy Metal Peacemakers

Chen Balbus, V4I, Voice4Israel
Chen Balibus

Chen Balbus of Orphaned Land Speaks with Voice4Israel

Chen Balbus, guitar player of the Israeli band Orphaned Land, answers questions for Voice4Israel about being a successful and respected musician in Israel. 

Haaretz refers to Orphaned Land as “Israel’s most successful metal band [which] has fans throughout the Arab world. For 27 years it manages to combine guitars and distortion with traditional Middle Eastern music.”

Favorite place to visit in Israel and why?

Balbus: Ancient Jaffa. I’m into ancient locations with ruins that you could pretty much get a sense of the history. Jaffa is beautiful (and not too far away from anything).

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

Balbus: Jerusalem is amazing but I’d personally go for Tel Aviv, which has a much more relaxed kind of vibe unlike Jerusalem where it’s full of tourists.

"Orphaned Land are unique because they combine Middle Eastern music with metal, text from the Torah, Koran and the New Testament and in the mix of it they call for peace without touching any side of the political map. They have a huge amount of followers in the Arab world, including fans who who have tattooed the bands logo on their body - in countries where you go to jail for doing that."

-Israeli fan

Orphaned Land combines heavy metal with Middle Eastern music and text from the Torah, Koran and the New Testament. What made you decide to use this formula in your art?

Balbus: There are many around the world from any genre that would, lets say, choose a subject from their culture, vikings for example. We just pretty much took what is more related to our culture and history and combined it with our traditional music. It worked out well, I’d say 🙂

From all of your tours and shows, what was the most memorable moment for you as an Israeli and a Jew?

Balbus: Wacken festival 2016, although every show is very unique, but seeing all those country flags together in one place. That’s coexistence in the making right there. beautiful

Has the BDS movement ever tried to prevent you from performing? If yes, what have you done about it?

Balbus: Not that I know of, yet.

What are your thoughts about BDS trying to prevent artists from performing in Israel and Israeli artists performing across the globe?

Balbus: Pure waste of time, wasted on hate spread instead of spreading the good.

Why I love Israel?

Balbus: It’s my home. our home.

Editor’s Note: Readers may also enjoy our I Love Israel series. 

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