- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
U.S. immigration authorities are apparently not big fands of musical fusion:
When Jordan Peimer booked an Argentine band that fuses Jewish Klezmer music with tango, he thought he had the perfect act to headline his "Fiesta Hanukkah" concert.
"It is hard to imagine any band more fitting than Orquesta Kef," says Mr. Peimer, the program’s director at the Skirball Cultural Center here. The event was designed to attract a Jewish audience and the city’s burgeoning Hispanic community.
That was before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services weighed in with some cultural commentary of its own. The band couldn’t travel to the U.S., the agency ruled, because it didn’t satisfy a "culturally unique" requirement for a performer visa called P-3.
"The evidence repeatedly suggests the group performs a hybrid or fusion style of music…[which] cannot be considered culturally unique to one particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe or other group of persons," read the denial. It was signed by caseworker CSC4672/WS24533.
Other victims of the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services’s finnicky judgements have included a Brazilian hip-hop group, a Mexican indie rock band, and a Canadian modern dancer.
Hat tip: Hit & Run