YEREVAN (Ultimate Classis Rock)—An Armenian folk orchestra performed the Black Sabbath song “She’s Gone” in a traditional style. The performance was in honor of Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan, for their efforts to help the nation recover after an earthquake 30 years ago.
The Naregatsi Orchestra’s performance, based on a song that appeared on Sabbath’s 1976 album Technical Ecstasy, took place in the Armenian capital city of Yerevan while the musicians were in the country to be thanked for arranging the Rock Aid Armenia fundraising campaign in 1989.
Rock Aid Armenia was a reaction to the natural disaster that had killed up to 50,000 people the previous year. It took the form of a supergroup cover of Deep Purple’s classic “Smoke on the Water,” and featured Bruce Dickinson, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmour, Brian May and others.
“I was [in Armenia] a year after the earthquake, and it was as if it were the day before,” Gillan recalled in 2011. “I went out to Spitak, the epicenter of the earthquake, and I was speaking to the mayor and people going around … like zombies. And of all the things that made an impression on me, the one thing he said was that there’s no music. Even after a year, there’s no music in the church. There’s no music on the radio. Children don’t sing. Even the birds aren’t singing. It’s just dead.”
You can watch the group perform “Smoke on the Water” below.
In 2011, Iommi and Gillan arranged a new project, WhoCares, to fund the building of a music school in Armenia. Along with Glenn Hughes, Jason Newsted, Nicko McBrain, Dr. John and others, they recorded an album that was released in 2012.