The Guardian festival blog: Britain is open for business? Not for African artists coming to Womad | Ian Birrell | Opinion

Moonchild Sanelly oozes star quality. When musicians from Africa Express – the organisation I co-founded – went to South Africa earlier this year to make some recordings, they were blown away by her. A huge mop of blue hair, an engaging personality and distinctive vocals, she ended up on so many tracks that one visitor joked they were making her solo album. When the collective played in Johannesburg, Damon Albarn hailed an emerging superstar after she performed.

But British audiences must wait to see this fabulous artist. For Moonchild is the latest African performer to fall foul of our “hostile environment” on migration, forcing her to cancel three planned shows in this country after spending almost £500 for the visa application. She handed over all the demanded documents, which range from checked bank statements through to insurance details, and took two days to collate, only to be seemingly tripped up on a financial…


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Straight from The Guardian
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