TootArd 1 - by Wael Abu Jabal

Electronic Syrian Disco

Providing the inspiration for ‘Migrant Birds’, the recent album from TootArd, the band’s new sound is a captivating and nostalgia-inspired homage to the era of synthed-out Arabic disco pop. While inspired by the pioneering musicians that electrified contemporary Arabic music with synthesizers and electric guitars, the 80s, with glittering, carefree vibe may be the catalyst, but the real roots of the music run deeper. 

Under the beats and the joy, there’s a dark contrast, a sorrow that casts its shadow across the lyrics. Yet, the solemnity also creates a melancholic feeling to soothe boiling emotions, sad love songs that facilitate one’s’ understanding of the struggle. Notably, it’s also a strong and intriguing departure from the band’s iconic guitar-driven desert blues and mountain reggae iconised in their 2019 Glitterbeat release ‘Laissez Passer’.

The album’s core is based on a simple idea – freedom; the freedom to be a Migrant Bird that can fly away. But perhaps that’s a tough feat for people who remain officially “undefined” and stateless. Those who are born in the occupied Golan Heights – like the Nakhleh brothers – have no passport, a situation that has existed since the late 1960’s when Israel occupied the region.