Boujemaa Razgui doesn’t know how he’s going to continue to make a living. The flutist lost all 13 of his specialized, handmade flutes when customs officials at JFK seized and destroyed them after an inspector decided to categorize them as agricultural products.
Razgui has travelled with his instruments — neys and kawalas which he painstakingly makes by hand — on numerous occasions without incident, however this time he was surprised upon returning home from Morocco to Massachusetts when his instrument case arrived without any of his flutes inside. When he rushed to the airport to inquire, he was informed that the flutes, which are made of dried bamboo, had been destroyed.
A renowned musician, Razgui is scheduled to perform with the Camerata Mediterranea in February. Now he doesn’t know what he’ll do. The flutes are made from a rare kind of bamboo that is difficult to source, and less than 15 people in the United States play the types of instruments Razgui is known for.