Malian Tuareg group Tinawiren denied entry to Canada
Renowned Malian Tuareg group Tinawiren has been denied entry to Canada, forcing the cancellation of their Vancouver Folk Music Festival appearance.
The group, currently on tour in the States, was to perform at the folk fest tomorrow (July 17) in daytime workshops and in the evening main stage concert.
In a statement on the festival’s site, artistic director Linda Tanaka said she was confused by the decision to deny the group visas, and described it as a “blow to the festival, to the artists and to their many dedicated fans in this city.”
She added: “Tinariwen has a long history of international touring at prestigious events such as the Glastonbury, Coachella and WOMAD Festivals, performing in Vancouver as recently as 2010 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. They fully complied with their visa restrictions then, and there is no reason to expect this visit would be different. This inexplicable decision is a blow to the festival, to the artists and to their many dedicated fans in this city. We will continue to get to the bottom of this situation and hope to invite the band back at a later date.”
According to the festival's statement, the musicians’s first applications for visas, submitted at the Parisian Canadian Embassy, were denied, forcing the cancellation of an appearance at the Winnipeg Folk Festival earlier this month. Their re-application in Los Angeles was supported by MP Hedy Fry, who sent a letter of support to the Canadian Consulate in L.A., and MP Libby Davies, who sent a letter to Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore.