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Growing number of artists contract coronavirus

Updated 8/4/20: US folk and country singer John Prine has passed away due to complications from Covid-19, aged 73. Garnering praise from the likes of Johnny Cash and Roger Waters over the years, artists including Bruce Sprinsteen, Ron Sexsmith and Bonnie Raitt are among those to have paid tribute to the late singer.

 


As cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continue to mount around the world, members of the live music community are among those falling ill.

Pink, whose Beautiful Trauma tour was the highest grossing of 2019, raking in $215.2 million, is among artists to have contracted coronavirus. The singer, who has now recovered, is donating $1m to support health care workers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Other artists to have contracted the virus include English singer Marianne Faithfull, who is being treated in hospital, US singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, actor and DJ Idris Elba, producer Andrew Watt, rapper Slim Thug, rock artist Jackson Browne and Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo.

‘Love Song’ singer Sara Bareilles recently revealed she had been ill with the virus, but is now fully recovered.

Tragically, the live music world has lost a number of great talents to coronavirus in recent weeks. Artists to have passed away from Covid-19 include Fountains of Wayne bassist and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who died on 1 April, aged 52. Schlesinger’s achievements include co-writing Fountains of Wayne hits including ‘Stacy’s Mom’ and his soundtrack work on Crazy Ex Girlfriend, A Colbert Christmas and That Thing You Do!.

Tragically, the live music world has lost a number of great talents to coronavirus in recent weeks

US country music singer Joe Diffie, passed away on 29 March, aged 61, known for hits including ‘Bigger Than the Beatles’ and ‘John Deere Green’. Tributes have been paid to the late Diffie by country stars including Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley and Travis Tritt.

Singer and songwriter Alan Merrill, best remembered for co-writing the original ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’, died over the weekend from Covid-19, aged 69. Artists including Meat Loaf and Joan Jett have paid tribute to the singer on social media.

The world of jazz has also lost some greats to coronavirus in recent days. Trumpeter Wallace Roney passed away on 31 March, aged 59. The Grammy-winning trumpeter played with the likes of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

Jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr lost his life on 1 April, aged 85, due to complications caused by coronavirus. Four of Marsalis’ six sons are also prominent musicians, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

African jazz great Manu Dibango died on 24 March, from coronavirus, aged 86. The Cameroon-born saxophonist gained international fame with his 1972 song ‘Soul Makossa’.

 


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Spanish rock veterans denied entry to US

Veteran Spanish rock band Medina Azahara have become the latest act to fall foul of ever-stricter immigration controls in the US, having been forced to cancel an American tour after their keyboardist was denied entry at the border.

According to local daily Diario Córdoba, Manuel Ibáñez erroneously answered ‘yes’ a question on the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) visa waiver form asking if “you have ever committed fraud or misrepresented yourself or others to obtain, or assist others to obtain, a visa or entry into the United States”.

Ibáñez, who says he made the mistake when filling in the form on the flight over, sought to redress the error at the consulate but was deported after a two-hour interrogation.

Ibáñez’s deportation comes after visa issues prevented several performers from gaining entry to the US for South by Southwest in Texas last month.

“Who knows – if there is a change of president, things might change”

‘Andalusian rock’ pioneers Medina Azahara, who have been active since 1979, have been forced to cancel shows in New York, Maryland, Dallas, Anaheim and Chicago as part of a planned US tour, as well as a date in Bogota, Colombia.

“At the moment, we do not know if we can reschedule the shows for another time,” says lead singer Manuel Martínez, as on 28 April we have to be back in Cordova for a concert in Adamuz.”

He does, however, express a wish to return to America soon – and takes a shot at US president Donald Trump, who has been criticised by agents and promoters for his hardline stance on immigration: “Who knows – if there is a change of president there [the US] things might change,” he comments. “We’ll see.”

 


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