Popular Seville-based Spanish “Flamenco-Billy” rockers, Mártires del Compás(Harmonia Mundi/World Village Music) have cancelled their U.S. tour due to unexpectedly lengthy delays in processing their entry visas by the U.S. Embassy in Madrid. Repeated communications with the U.S. consulate yielded little information as to the cause of the delays, "further security checks in Washington." he tour would have been the group’s third visit to the United States.
The group, which have steadily gained popularity in the U.S. since their debut in New York City in 2000, expressed disappointment with theese recent developments. Known for their electrifying live performances and sometimes-controversial lyrics, the band had been scheduled to play several high-profile and prestigious gigs over the course of the next month, including sets at the Madison World Music Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, the Lotus Festival, and Joe's Pub.
Their most recent U.S. release, ironically titled No Papeles/No Papers, and whose album cover is represented by a passport with multiple entrance stamps had received rave reviews in the U.S. press recently, with Billboard Magazine noting “a distinctive and compelling album, laced with social and political lyrics,” including several clear barbs toward the Bush administration.
Said spokesman Miguel Jiménez, "We have our hopes that the delays weren’t related to frontman Chico Ocaña’s outspokenness. We’d hate to think this has to do with the release of No Papeles/No Papers, or his known free mind. But, in any case, Unfortunately, It does not seem to be the same society we wanted to learn with, which formerly welcomed diversity and freedom of expression, where many others before us, gave-and-took-found-and-left the seeds for a new and better future. We are not delinquents, rather individuals that are trying to do our work in the best way possible and we deserve some respect too, it is not nice to feel disrespected this way.”