A scheduled Oct. 4 performance in Chapel Hill, N.C., by Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Chucho Valdes has been canceled because the federal government won’t let the Cuban musician enter the U.S. A new federal law enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prevented Valdes from getting the proper travel visa needed to embark on his American tour, which was scheduled to stop next week at the University of North Carolina (UNC) campus in Chapel Hill.
Valdes was one of 22 Cuban musicians unable to obtain a visa in time to attend the Latin Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last week. He won the best pop instrumental album trophy for “Canciones Ineditas” (Egrem), his first Grammy after decades of work.
State Department officials said last week the performers weren’t denied visas. Instead, they were required by a law enacted in May to clear a lengthy screening process, one that had not yet been completed.
At UNC, word came down late last week that Valdes, scheduled to kick off the Carolina Union’s 2002-03 performance series, wasn’t coming to town. “It was a huge problem, a scramble,” said Don Luse, director of the Carolina Union. “As a result, we have rescheduled another performer.” The university quickly chose a salsa and jazz act, Ray Barretto and New World Spirit, to fill the spot. Tickets for the Valdes performance will be honored at the Barretto appearance.
Valdes’ next U.S. tour dates are scheduled to kick off in January.
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