The UK Border Agency was today accused of damaging London’s reputation for world music with a “heavy-handed” visa clampdown.Oh noes! However will we look….errr, somebody…in the face again?
Music promoter Jay Visvadeva had to cancel two performances by the renowned Pakistani group Sachal Jazz Ensemble at Kings Place in King’s Cross last week.And thus the music scene in London is that little less vibrant and rich. Or something.
“Six professional musicians who travel the world constantly should have a clean application. We had no issues with visas last year. The Border Agency are the culprits. They are heavy-handed especially with people from the Indian subcontinent.”Gosh. I wonder why? Did they just pick them out of a hat? ‘Today, chaps, it’s roust the Romanians, and next Tuesday, it’s torment the Tonganese’. Is that how it works?
Or is there maybe a valis reason?
Simon Broughton, editor of world music magazine Songlines, said visa issues were making promoters reluctant to book musicians from certain countries. “I don’t know whether something has changed at the Border Agency but it has become a problem recently,” he said.
“Great musicians who are very well known in their own fields are not getting into this country, where there is an audience for them. Much of the music is a fantastic way of correcting the image of Islam as sombre and strict, but the musicians can’t get into the country. It doesn’t help the understanding of these cultures.”I think we understand ‘em just fine. That’s exactly why we are tightening up on the entry requirements…