Outrage at JFK as Customs men smash a musician’s instruments
December 31, 2013 by Norman Lebrecht
Boujemaa Razgui, a flute virtuoso who lives in New York and works with many US ensembles, was returning to base over the holiday when Customs officials at Kennedy Airport asked to see his instruments.
Bourjemaa carries a variety of flutes of varying ethnicity, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. He is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata.
At JFK, the officials removed and smashed each and every one of his instruments. No reason was given.
We have been unable to reach the distressed Boujemaa but a swell of outrage is rising among his musician friends. One ensemble director tells us: ‘I can’t think of an uglier, stupider thing for the U.S. government to do than to deprive this man of the tools of his art and a big piece of his livelihood.’
Boujemaa needs all the support he can get. Messages of sympathy on Slipped Disc will reach him one way or other.
UPDATE: We have just managed to reach Boudemaa by phone. His ordeal may have been worse than described above. Report here. And in a further email, Boujemaa describes the joy his instruments brought to different communities across North America. Read here.
FURTHER UPDATE: US Customs start organising a defence.
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