Jan 03, 2014
By Scott Walker
A Toronto-based musician is facing the loss of his instruments, and his livelihood.
Boujemaa Rasgui plays flutes that he makes from bamboo himself. He was flying from Madrid through New York to Boston for a concert, but his instruments didn’t make it any father than New York. Customs officials found them in a bag that also contained what they classified as green bamboo. US law prohibits the importation of “agricultural products,” and the entire contents of the case were destroyed, including Rasgui’s flutes.
The artist says he makes his flutes from a variation of bamboo that can’t be found in the Americas. He sources the wood from his native Morocco. But it must be a certain length and thickness in order to make the instruments.
Rasgui says he has been traveling with his instruments and raw wood for 26 years, knows the rules, and would have explained to customs officials that the wood was not a danger if he’d been consulted.
The instruments were not insured.