05-24-2018  3:55 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...

Portland streetcar derails in crash; 1 injury

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland streetcar derailed during an accident involving several vehicles.No major injuries have been reported, but police say one person was taken to a hospital.The crash happened early Thursday afternoon in the Central Eastside Industrial District.The streetcar's "B...

Suspect in 1986 Washington murder case pleads not guilty

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A man arrested in the killing of a 13-year-old Tacoma, Washington girl over three decades ago has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.The News Tribune reports 60-year-old Robert Washburn pleaded not guilty Thursday in Tacoma, Washington, to murder with aggravated...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Staley settles lawsuit against Missouri athletic director

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley has reached a ,000 settlement in her lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk.Missouri is paying the ,000. One half of the settlement will go to INNERSOLE, a nonprofit foundation co-founded by Staley. The other half will...

San Francisco police not charged in black man's 2015 killing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors said Thursday that they will not charge officers in two shooting deaths, including the killing of a black man that led to citywide protests three years ago and federally recommended police reforms.District Attorney George Gascon declined to...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve relations between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee...

ENTERTAINMENT

Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project
By Lisa Loving | The Skanner News

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for one small music promotion business in Portland struggling to bring a prestigious “Gypsy jazz” guitarist on a Northwest tour.

Late Tuesday, promoter Laura Martinez announced that Merkley’s office successfully intervened in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s refusal of a visa for the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project.

Tour dates in Portland, Kirkland, Wa., and Florence, Ore., originally set for the first week of December are now rescheduled for the first week in January. (see below)

Homeland Security’s visa refusal forced Martinez to cancel tour dates scheduled for this week, on the grounds that Reinhardt and his band are not “culturally unique.”

Martinez says she jumped on the phone to an array of elected officials, including Mayor Charlie Hales, Sen. Ron Wyden and Merkley – but it was Merkley’s staff who came through in convincing federal officials that Gypsy Jazz is worth a touring visa, with the help and support of Robert Manicke, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of German for Oregon and Idaho.

Merkley’s staff did not return requests for comment but Martinez is thrilled at the support she received there and around the region.

“People have said to me, you know, you’re lucky that the venues are helping you and let’s just turn these lemons into some lemonade; everybody’s excited about starting the New Year off with new music,” Martinez says.

“But obviously Lulo was devastated; he sat down and wrote a new song for the U.S.A. called ‘Visa.’

“This is one of the reasons why I didn’t want to cancel the tour and say it is too hard to continue,” she says. “He and the band are just awesome musicians.”

Locking International Artists Out

The list of international performance artists denied performing visas in the United States since the terrorist attacks on the WorldTradeCenter in 2001 is long, and growing.

A report in the New York Times last year said that visa procedures for artists trying to enter the US is “increasingly labyrinthine, expensive and arbitrary,” to the point that it is “making the system a serious impediment to cultural exchanges with the rest of the world.”

Ethnic and cultural performance groups from all over the world, set to perform in communities around the United States, have been denied for an array of reasons and even refused entry after obtaining a visa.

In some cases artists who had been denied in the past were suddenly deemed acceptable.  The former pop singer Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, was denied visas for a few years and then allowed into the country to perform “without incident.”

Another particularly poignant incident involved Cuban “Buena Vista Social Club” artist Ibrahim Ferrer, a triple Grammy-winner who was among a group of musicians denied entry to perform and collect a special award at the 2004 Grammys after Homeland Security claimed he was a “security risk.”

The 76-year-old performer died the following year, insisting publically that he was “not a terrorist.”

The Guardian newspaper in England reported at that time that Cuban and Muslim artists seem disproportionately affected.

“Overall, according to Homeland Security Department records, requests for the standard foreign performer’s visa declined by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2010, the most recent fiscal year for which statistics are available,” the New York Times reported in 2012. “During the same period the number of these visa petitions rejected, though small in absolute numbers, rose by more than two-thirds.” 

Painful History

While “Gypsy jazz” music can be lighthearted and danceable, many listeners have no idea the depths of pain it originates from.

For generations, millions of enthusiastic jazz fans around the world have thrilled to the music of the legendary French “Gypsy jazz” guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), whose too-short life spanned the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s he originated the name “Gypsy jazz” and helped inspire the French term ‘Le Jazz Hot.’

Historically, Django Reinhardt’s contribution to music – and that of his family – is even more remarkable because it, and he, survived the Nazi Holocaust that swept through France and most of Europe, as well as North Africa.

Historical accounts show that the Nazi troops loved jazz music and especially in Berlin and Paris, spared Black and “Gypsy jazz” performers from arrest, internment in concentration camps, forced sterilization and in some cases the gas chambers as long as they played music within specific written guidelines.

Today, Django’s grand-nephew, German guitarist Lulo Reinhardt, is taking the music world by storm, mixing “Gypsy” and “jazz” into a multilayered world-beat vision incorporating Brazilian and Flamenco influences within his band, the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project.

Reinhardt and his family embrace the term “Gypsy jazz,” but generally the term “gypsy” is considered an insult. In many areas the name “Roma” is used instead to refer to these communities, but in truth there are a handful of different ethnic groups that are considered “gypsy.”

Django Reinhardt himself came from the French community known as the “Manouche;” as a German citizen, Lulo considers himself part of the related community called “Sinti,” which originated in Central Europe.

Lulo’s discography includes 10 albums, two of which were recorded live. His professional recording career started when he joined a jazz sextet in Germany at the age of 12.This month he celebrates 40years as a live jazz performer. In Germany on Dec. 14 he plans a gala concert featuring his expansive guitar collection, Sinti memorabilia and a documentary about his celebrated performing family, “Newo Ziro.”

Lulo Reinhardt is so beloved by guitarists that Saga Instruments, a San Francisco manufacturer, collaborated with him to design the Lulo Reinhardt Model Gitane 310 guitar in his name.

In fact, Martinez says that when she struggled to find a good-quality amp for Reinhardt’s tour, Erik Lind of the Montreal-based AER amp distributor Musiquip jumped to the rescue. Martinez says within hours the company arranged for a brand new AER Domino 2 amp to be delivered to Portland and signed on Reinhardt as one of their signature artists.

For more information on Reinhardt’s Northwest tour, go to World Fusion Events online or visit Lulo Reinhardt's official website here

Lulo Reinhardt concert dates are now:

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, Florence Event Center, Florence, Ore., www.eventcenter.org

Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland, Wa., www.kpcenter.org

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, www.albertarosetheatre.com

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, Vie De Boheme, Portland, www.viedebohemepdx.com. This event will be a special evening allowing patrons to meet and greet Lulo and his band.

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