Butman recently received a letter from the US State Department, where he was advised not to take part in the Koktebel Jazz Party music festival. The event was held in Crimea from August 28-30.
The musician, who has an American passport, could now become subject to a legal action as US persons are prohibited by law from providing any services in Crimea.
Igor Butman spoke to Sputnik regarding this matter, “I received an email ten days before my trip to Crimea from the State Department. I think the Ukrainian authorities must have notified the US embassy in Kiev about the fact that international musicians including myself are planning to go to Crimea to attend the jazz festival. They didn’t like it.”
“It is strange. Jazz was prohibited in the Soviet Union, for all these years jazz was considered to be American music. It had a lot to do with freedom, it was about slaves working in fields and singing about their days of future freedom. I could not think that someone would tell me not to play this music in the festival,” Butman said.
“I brought many different musicians from different parts of the world and I couldn’t not go when I have the audience, music, good talks and when I can try and make people think of good things and not think about weapons and going to war. There is a beauty in life besides the ambitions of politicians.”
He also said that he has not yet contacted lawyers as he is now on the US State Department’s radar but he did send a letter to US President Obama, saying that there is no prohibition on musicians playing in Ukraine, so if he gets permission he would like to go and play there too as his motive is to promote peace.
“I also said in the letter that I performed when Bill Clinton was President and it was one of the first meetings between Putin and Clinton, it was a great concert. It was very memorable.”
Regarding the Koktebel Jazz Party itself Butman said, “It was great. The weather was great there were a lot of people, around 5,000 to 7,000 people every evening as I could see. The sound was great. There were Cuban musicians, different styles of music. We played and before us there was funk music and different variations of jazz music. It was great.”