TootArd, a band that is literally without a country

TootArd are a young, trailblazing ensemble from the occupied Golan Heights who deftly fuse Levant-tinted desert blues, melodic psych-rock, morphed reggae and classical Arabic modalities. Their second album Laissez Passer, is their debut international release and one of the first such releases from their homeland. 

Crédit photo : Mercedes Ortego Gonzalez
TootArd (Arabic for Strawberries) come from the majestic mountain side village of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights, making them a band, that is literally without a country. Their second album, Laissez Passer (Let Him Pass) is embracing music as their remedy for the ironic reality from which they come, a sound of a band that’s found its voice, restless, eclectic and infectious. 
A Laissez Passer. Let him pass. That’s the document the stateless carry. It’s all that those from the occupied Golan Heights possess. Since 1967 the area has been part of Israel, but the inhabitants aren’t Israelis. They don’t have any citizenship. They don’t have passports. Just a Laissez Passer. And for the members of TootArd who all grew up in the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan, it’s a very apt name for their new album who will be released on Glitterbeat Records on November 10. 

Beginning in 2010, TootArd played all over the Golan Heights, then travelled further, to Jerusalem,Palestine and beyond.
“We gigged a lot. But by 2014 we felt it was becoming a loop, and we all wanted to change things in our lives. We just needed to stop. I moved to Europe, first to Berlin, then to Bern. Others went elsewhere. But when we’d all go home, we’d get together and perform a concert in our village” explains singer and guitarist Hasan Nakhleh. 
Two years passed, and the band members missed the spark of working with each other. The time was right to pick up the reins.
“My brother Rami, who plays drums in the band, and I had been preparing things. We had new material that we thought was different, that said something unique. Everyone came together and we recorded the album in four months. We all have more life experience now. The music is fresher. We feel we’ve moved ahead.”
The result is an Arabic blues, the quiet, sad music of people who have a home but no nationality.
TootArd are not ‘undefined’; they’ve fashioned their own identity in their music, creating a bond of the stateless that reaches from the Levant to the Tuareg – another people without a real home –  and reaches out far beyond. Let them pass
Crédit : Mercedes Ortego Gonzalez

The band is already a sensation in parts of the Middle East and are playing cool festivals in the UK (End of the Road) and Germany (Haldern Pop) last summer. They will be back in early 2018 for a longer European tour.

You can pre-order now the album on all platforms : https://IDOL.lnk.to/LaissezPasser

Lyrics translations: Laissez Passer

I do not exist on the ID card

a string and a piece of wood are my gunpowder

without a nationality, without borders

and if you ask me I would say,

I play  the ´Oud.

Laissez Passer; your name…your image isn’t familiar

Laissez Passer; your origin…your roots aren’t known

Laissez Passer; your country…your homeland isn’t known

With music I become a flying bird

I change my feathers, I change my strings

between my letters…words of fire

Arabic, African, ´Oud, and Guitar

Laissez Passer; your name…your image isn’t familiar

Laissez Passer; your origin…your roots aren’t known

Laissez Passer; your country…your homeland isn’t known

Laissez Passer

Laissez Passer

Laissez Passer

Laissez Passer