TOOTARD (GOLAN HEIGHTS)

Field Stage | Saturday, August 4th 

“What we do now is the result of everything we’ve ever done and heard,” Nakhleh says. “We began listening to Tuareg music and we fell in love with it. It resonated with us. We all grew up with classical Arab music. In finding our own sound, we’ve discovered things from all over.” With the album Laissez Passer, the past has helped create the future.

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.

“Laissez passers are special situation papers,” explains singer and guitarist Hasan Nakhleh. “It took us a while to realise the effect. We’re permanent residents in Israel, but not citizens. We have no travel documents. When we travel we need the laissez passer. With no nationality, we’re officially ‘undefined.’”

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.