Word The Cat

Word the Cat

walls behind the scenes

Posted by Chris on June 30, 2008 at 4:12 pm  

finally back in front of a computer after sonar… personal highlights were bass clef’s new soca tune (and him bashing a cowbell along to it) as well as scotch egg beating several shades of scotch shit out of the sound. what’s funny is that I could have seen both these acts in London and Brighton respectively at any point in the past year (though obviously not with the same vibes).

On the other hand/hemisphere, I was looking forward to seeing konono no.1, but they weren’t there. must be visa problems i thought. sadly it was. a statement from the group’s manager:

“This is the Schengen zone. The countries pass the buck to each other and each one asks for different documents. They are stopping a group which earns money, feeds dozens of families and has no intention of living anywhere except for the Congo from travelling to Europe. The proof of that is that they have all returned to their country after numerous international tours.” via.

Biometric visas are soon to be EU-wide, but the UK is ahead of the game. Each member of the band must travel to the nearest UK visa office to be fingerprinted. In Konono no.1′s case the nearest office is 1500 miles away in Kenya. This proved financially and logistically impossible despite the intervention of Congo’s interior minister and the contingent factors that the band are veterans of several international tours, have the high profile of having recorded with Bjork and been put on a pedestal by the BBC. As in the case of Les Amazones de Guinée the UK still retains the right to turn musicians with visas away at the border. (via). Precedents such as Papa Wemba’s entourage might provide an excuse, but mass-fingerprinting (for both now and held for posterity) whether it happens to anyone (non-EU) who wishes to enter the UK or to every Roma person in Italylink -(with the echos of fascism and extermination that invokes) is terrifying, driven in no small part by the political logic of a permanent and total security emergency (“emergenza di sicurezza”) and the massive post 9-11 bubble economy that benefits from producing the technology such a situation claims to necessitate (you know that checking UK biometric visa applications is privatised and outsourced right?)

I should mention that in konono no.1′s absence el guincho stepped up and did a heavy percussive live set, but in the end that’s little comfort – especially for African musicians who don’t have konono no.1′s profile and who want to play in Europe. to explicate from one of the links buried above:

how can fingerprinting all visitors and EU nationals be considered proportionate? How can a system designed for the broad purpose of border management be limited in purpose? How can the European Commission ensure the quality of data when fingerprint and facial recognition processing is so unreliable? With no clear goal other than to use new technology how can this be seen as necessary? via.

Konono no.1 at the Barbican, London in 2006. have old bald man must shock out.


  • Comment by Mataklap on July 1, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Yes, Bass Clef last tune was great, as well as the Nippon GameBoymaster… Lost of cancellations in general though, and particularly the things I wanted to see most. (Konono, Spank Rock, MIA, Kid Sis) Ah well. Better luck next year.

  • Comment by vamanos on July 3, 2008 at 6:45 pm

I was gutted that they didn’t play too. A real shame about the circumstances. Good to know the real reason of the no show.

  • Comment by clef on July 9, 2008 at 1:26 pm

you should’ve said hello!
Would’ve been great to meet WTC in person…

  • Comment by clef on July 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

you should’ve said hello!
Would’ve been great to meet WTC in person…
I was gutted Konono couldn’t make it – they would have absolutely ripped it up there!

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