11 September 2003 Edition

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Basque musician forced to cancel tour

MANU CHAO and Basque musician Fermin Muguruza played a great gig in Dublin on 20 August last. However, both musicians decided to cancel their gigs in the Spanish State after some politicians from the governing party in Spain, the conservative and post-Francoist Popular Party, together with an association in support of the victims of ETA attacks, claimed Fermin Muguruza was a Basque separatism supporter and militant in the now illegal party Batasuna.

Muguruza has become a target of the Spanish right-wing forces for his activism in support of Basque self determination and his stand on Basque culture. He was boed when at the "amigo'' awards - the Spanish version of the "Grammy's'', when he decided to collect his award as best Basque language artist of the year wearing a t-shirt supporting the Basque language newspaper Egunkaria, which was recently closed by Spanish authorities.

This latest campaign is part of an ongoing history of attacks on Basque music and culture. Basque rock bands like Su ta Gar and SA, Madrilian writer Alfonso Sastre and the clown group Takolo, Pirritx eta Porrotx have been target by Spanish forces.

In this case, Manu Chao and Fermin Muguruza have suspended the Spanish leg of their tour "Jai Alai Katumbi Express''. Manu Chao's recent concerts given in Baiona, Iruñea and Madrid were attended by thousands.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1