Spain: Basque singer suffers from concert prohibitions



Basque singer Fermin Muguruza suffers from concert prohibitions

by Michael Abt-Okudzeto, True School booking and artist management (Germany).
Published 19th of January 2004

The probably most well-known basque rock singer Fermin Muguruza suffers from concert prohibitions. Also appearances of the new formation Fermin Muguruza Kontrabanda are forbidden. Thus one witnesses the same scenes like last year, when he was touring with Manu Chao.

Already before yesterday’s concert in Valencia and today’s show in Borriana (Castellon) were called off, it came to incidents. The official reason, which the organizer in Valencia mentioned, were threats of neo-fascist groups. One could reckon with encroachments because of demonstrations. But instead of forbidding the demos of the fascists, the concerts were obstructed. Even more rude and more obvious was the situation in Borriano. First the organizers of the Sala Duende had stood held to the pressure. Then they were ordered to the Guardia civil and the mayor threatened with closing the restaurant, if the concert took place.

In the meantime the concerts in the Spanish capital Madrid planned on 28 and 29 January have been cancelled. This is also tragic, because they are part of an action week for the zapatistic resistance in Mexico. Last weekend a concert of the basque groups of Berri Txarrak and Leihotikan was already suspended in the Spanish capital.
Already before the concerts in Valencia and Madrid were refused, it had come to incidents outside of the Basque country. Thus the socialist regional government of Andalusia had put pressure on the organizers in Cordoba to cancel the concert. But with support of the city administration the sold out concert took place without incidents. Same situation in Merida in Extremadura where in spite of the regional government having put pressure on the organizers, the concert could take place. 12 persons, including civil policemen, demonstrated against the concert and were protected by 30 policemen.

For years the governing conservative People’s Party (PP) and the organisation “Victims of Terror” (AVT) proceed against basque groups. AVT sued Muguruza, Su Ta Gar and Soziedad Alkoholika, because they “called out for terrorism”. Muguruza called the basque separatist-organisation ETA to ceasefire, but his commitment for the rights of the political prisoners and against torture is still regarded as a provocation. Even more as he ran for parties of the left basque movement of independence.

The attack of the nationally organized death squadron (GAL) in the hotel Monbar left its mark on the ex-front man of Kortatu and Negu Gorriak. During this incident in the middle of the 1980’s, three basque persons living in exile in Southern France were murdered, Muguruza was present. Already last year 400 artists and intellectuals had turned against the prohibitions. In a communist manifesto, which was signed also by Carlo Taibo, Ignacio Ramonet and Vázquez Montalbán, was written: “The suspension of concerts and the black tide of lies and wrong accusations in some medias are bad news, an attack on culture, the common sense, injustice”.

Muguruza announced, he would continue his tour. In February he will reach France, Switzerland and Germany, where the first concert takes place on 11 February in Munich.

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