Debi Botos is a remarkable young artist who was slated to teach for the first time at Django in June this year. Born in Hungary, but living as a permanent resident in Canada, the process of obtaining a work visa for her was more complicated than usual. Long story short, through no fault of her own, she was stopped at the border on her way to Django in June and ultimately not allowed to enter the US.
Teaching at this event would not only have been a milestone in her musical career, but it was the source of funding for a trip she had planned to the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois. That pilgrimage is a thrilling adventure for anyone who loves this music. But for a performer and teacher of jazz manouche it is also professional development of the first order: it is relationships. It is mentoring. It is inspiration and education. It is essential.
I say we make it happen for her despite the ill fates of Immigration. When I finish writing this, I am going down to Western Union and I am going to wire her $1500 US. She's going to Samois.
If I have to bear this expense alone I will. But that's just a gesture from one person. I know it would mean a lot to Debi to know that it's not just me who stands behind her, but all of us who love this music, who want to see her thrive, and who plan to take full advantage of what she has to offer as she matures as a musician. So if you would like to help me cover the $1500 expense it will mean a lot to both Debi and me.
This was a big year for women at Django in June, but we've got a long way to go as an event and as a community. How about we step up, together?