Immigration officials ban band from playing at Trades

Added Friday, 25 May 2007

A concert has been cancelled by immigration officials.

Jelitara Futa, featuring Laye Sowe, was scheduled to play at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge next Friday, 1st June.

Even though the group have played regularly in the UK, including Glastonbury and Womad, they have been refused entry visas by immigration officials.

Trades Club president Peter Lazenby said: "We don't know why the band was refused visas, particularly as they had been granted them for their earlier tour. Immigration officials seem to be clamping down – this is not the first time artists booked at the Trades have been turned away by immigration. We will be taking up the issue with our MP."

Last year Thomas Mapfumo, from Zimbabwe, was also turned down. He had toured successfully in Britain and Europe many times. And Nell Bryden, an American folk singer, was refused a visa despite having previously played at the Trades Club.

Laye Sow is a Fula, from Podor in the Futa Toro region of Northern Senegal, on the Mauritanian border. He was brought up on the African tradition of storytelling through song. He is often described a Muslim mystic. Laye is deeply spiritual which you can easily traced in all his songs. Laye was lead singer with the National Band of Senegal for 3 years.

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