Radio Minorias

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viernes, 16 de febrero de 2018

TootArd - Laissez Passer

Famously, Rachid Taha’s first band was called Carte De Séjour, alluding to the difficulties of residents of France who were nonetheless less than citizens. Similarly, TootArd’s album title makes their status into a statement. They are from the Golan Heights, and therefore live in Israeli territory (and indeed record in Jersusalem) without being citizens of any nation. “Laissez Passer”, sings Hasan Nahkleh on the opening track; “your name . . . your image isn’t familiar . . . your roots are unknown . . . your homeland is unknown.” The music blusters in like the Touareg desert blues known simply as “Guitar”, fidgety and riff-driven.

TootArd play an engaging mixture of desert blues, dub reggae and all-out psychedelic rock. After the opening track Nahkleh plays his electric guitar like an oud, with a sour sound on “Musiqa”, with its stop-start rhythm eventually mutating into jaunty reggae; at the start of “A’sfur” a lengthy vamp owes as much to Knopfler as to Cairo.

His bandmates are his brother Rami, on bass guitar and percussion, and Amr Mdah on saxophones. Rami provides an off-kilter clatter of percussion on “Sahra”, its gritty guitar and reed interplay occasionally broken by a poetic vignette about “a night from a thousand nights”. The music falls away into a steady handclap. “A beautiful brunette”, the band chant, “her smile flamed my heart with a spark”. Then Mdah’s saxophone lifts into an airy solo.

This is music with its eyes on the far horizon. “Rebel, rebel, oh bird”, sings Nahkleh on “A’sfur”, “fly high/so there are no barriers in the world and the tall wall is demolished.” Later, on the yearning “Nasma Jabalyia”, his guitar echoing like a mirage, he sings to a turtledove and a mountain breeze. TootArd proclaim a mountain music open to anyone “from Baniyas and Hula plains to the Qarn and the Hareer valley . . . ” This is internationalist music, never more so than on the closing, wordless “Syrian Blues”.

1 Laissez Passer 3:54
2 Musiqa 3:25
3 Sahra 5:25
4 A'sfur 4:08
5 Nasma Jabalyia 3:20
6 Oya Marhaba 4:16
7 Bayati Blues 3:46
8 Roots Rock Jabali 4:06
9 Circles 4:09
10 Syrian Blues 4:54


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