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08 novembre 2007

Mapfumo gets UK visa after two-year exile

Thomas Mapfumo is to stage his first UK shows after a two-year absence due to problems with his visa, he confirmed. But more problems could be looming in the horizon for the Chimurenga music guru with at least three UK promoters lining up to claim thousands of pounds in outstanding advance payments for shows that never happened. Mapfumo confirmed he would be arriving in the UK later this month for the three gigs in Leicester (November 23), London (November 24) and Leeds (November 25).

Two years after Mapfumo -- who had been booked to perform at the Womad Music Festival -- was barred from the UK, he still heaps the blame on his ex-manager, Savanna Madamombe.

Mapfumo told AfrosoundsFM: “The lady who was managing us there last time caused a mix-up, otherwise we have no immigration problem. We have the right documents. The reason why we failed to come there was because somebody applied for work permits for six months and the UK authorities said if we give these people visas for six months, maybe they will stay on. I have nothing against the UK government, and the UK government has no problem with me.”

Mapfumo confirmed he was in the studio polishing up his latest album to be released soon. He also revealed that most of his original band members had left, and his music was now a fusion of old and new sounds. He said: “We don’t stop making music; we are constantly busy making music. The band has changed a lot, the music is not the same the people used to listen to. It’s still Zimbabwe-style music, but there are a lot of changes.”

Apart from Womad Festival organisers, Mapfumo will have some explaining to do with at least two other promoters who say they booked him for gigs but he never showed up. A source close to one of the promoters revealed: “Never has someone so much looked forward to Thomas Mapfumo’s arrival in the UK.”

Simpson 'Mhofu' Mpofu, another promoter who paid Mapfumo a deposit for five shows, said he had still not be reimbursed. He estimates the money he is owed at £12000.

He said: "We paid the guy a deposit for five shows. We had paid in full for the venues and the PA system. We had already bought the air tickets, and not a penny of that money has been recovered. When I spoke to Mapfumo, he suggested that we should organise another show. But my question to him was 'who is going to pay for the venues, the air tickets and the PA system?' We are considering our options."

Another promoter owed by the singer said: “We have some outstanding business to discuss.” Chris Gondoza, who is bringing Mapfumo to the UK, said Tuesday: “I got the work permits, and the band got the visas.” Gondoza insisted that as far as he knew, Mapfumo owed no-one a show. He said: “I talked to him (Mapfumo) before, and he says he knows nothing about it. I have just booked an artist to perform, and paid venues to host him. If there are people owed money, one would think pursuing the legal route would be the right course of action to take.”

1 commentaire:

on tour with Gabriel a dit…

Il est juste un peu en retard pour le womad 2006... :-(