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.’”
But in statelessness, the five-piece has discovered musical freedom. TootArd grew up understanding that borders are something imposed by governments, lines that only exist on a map. On a disc, in concert, they can go wherever their imagination carries them. They carry their citizenship inside.
“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. North African music is something we’ve heard since we were children. We all grew up with classical Arab music. In finding our own sound, we’ve discovered things from all over.” With Laissez Passer, the past has helped create the future.
On the title cut, Nakhleh notes, “the first verse is the reality, the second is our solution. Our people are stateless. We have no flag, no sense of belonging. It also reflects our emotions. We feel undefined, we don’t know where we belong, when everything in the world tells us we should belong. People always want you to say who you are.”....... więcej