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posted by janrinok on Saturday February 08 2020, @04:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the home-of-the-brave,-land-of-the-ham-fisted dept.

Two Soylentils sent in stories about the US TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and their handling of Ballaké Sissoko's kora (musical instrument).

US customs dismantled 'impossible to replace' instrument

Prominent Malian Musician Alleges that TSA Destroyed His Instrument:

One of Mali's most prominent musicians, Ballaké Sissoko, has alleged that the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] destroyed his specially designed instrument during a trip from New York to Paris that began on Monday evening. On Thursday afternoon, the TSA said that its agents did not open the instrument case or create the damage.

[...]Sissoko checked his kora, which was packed in a hard flight case covered with "fragile" stickers, as oversized baggage. Koras are large instruments that can stand more than 4 feet from the tip of the long, rounded neck to the base of its big gourd body.

[...]But once he arrived at his apartment in Paris, Sissoko says, he opened the case to find his kora dismantled.

An official statement posted to Sissoko's Facebook page, written by ethnomusicologist and former BBC presenter Lucy Durán, notes: "The neck of the kora has been removed. The strings, bridge and entire, delicate and complex sound system of amplification has been taken apart.... These kinds of custom-made koras are simply impossible to replace."

[...]Sissoko says that inside the case, alongside the dismantled instrument was an official note from the TSA written in Spanish, that said that agents had opened the case for inspection, and that its contents "may have been searched for prohibited items."

At the bottom of the notification is this slogan: "Seguridad inteligente ahorra tiempo" — "Smart security saves time."

[...]"In Mali," the musician's statement says in part, "the jihadists threaten to destroy musical instruments, cut the tongues out of singers and to silence Mali's great musical heritage. And yet, ironically, it is the USA Customs [sic] that have in their own way managed to do this."

[...]According to the TSA website, musical instruments must undergo screening, whether they are carry-on or checked.

See also: BBC, Al Jazeera, the Guardian

Here's how that kora used to sound in Sissoko's hands Ballake Sissoko - Nalesonko - live, Toumani Diabate with Ballake Sissoko - Kadiatou (gorgeous), Famadenke

Ballaké Sissoko's Kora Dismantled by American TSA [Link giving 404 07-18:37ITC]

"The kora is a fragile, hand-crafted instrument, and Ballaké's kora is tailormade to his own specifications. It is an intrinsic part of his very special sound. Would US customs have dared to dismantle a Stradivarius? In its own way that is what has just happened to Ballaké. The neck of the kora has been removed. The strings, bridge and entire, delicate and complex sound system of amplification have been taken apart. The kora is in pieces. Even if all the components that have been dissembled were intact, it takes weeks before a kora of this calibre can return to its previous state of resonance. These kinds of custom-made koras are simply impossible to replace. They are certainly not available in shops." (Lucy Duran)

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

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  • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Sunday February 09 2020, @11:11PM

    by Mykl (1112) on Sunday February 09 2020, @11:11PM (#956194)

    If your Government keeps making boneheaded decisions that cost you, the taxpayer, money then you'll vote them out. Governments will enact sane laws, hire competent people and behave themselves because they don't want to be voted out.

    Right now, the US government can do what it wants, because Fuck You.

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