CITES awareness for travelling overseas

With the start of 2023 quite a few players have been getting in touch with instruments that they have not shown anyone for years. This is very exciting as it allows me an opportunity to share with them the history and story of their instrument. Some players know very little about their instrument and bow, and some know all there is to know, which is a delight, to share stories of the who, what, where, when and whys?  

And this made me think again about the CITES issue we are faced with! How the wood we use and its history play a crucial part in our legacy.

What is CITES?  CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. What’s that got to do with me/you?

Well, in 2007 CITES listed Pernambuco (or Brazil wood) on their Appendix II which is their lower level of protection for an endangered species. Recent developments in the production of carbon fibre bows means there are alternative bows out there. But previously all decent bows were made of Pernambuco and lesser bows of Brazil wood. Same species, just Pernambuco is better quality. Bow makers can only use stock that was already outside Brazil by 2007. It’s a minefield to try to prove to the authorities that their wood is legitimate.

If you travel across international borders with a violin and bow and they have any CITES stated endangered species as part of them you must carry a letter stating so. For example a Pernambuco bow must be declared in a letter that you carry with you, and Indian Rosewood pegs etc. If you have for example ivory or species from Appendix I CITES lists you must contact CITES and be issued with a certificate to enable you to travel with these items.  As long as you have checked this out then travelling abroad with your instrument/bow is straight forward.

Treasure your instruments and bows because they are becoming increasingly hard to replicate. My industry is striving to find alternative products so that instrument and bow making doesn’t grind to a halt!

If you need a letter, get in touch.

Stop Press 

An exciting new concert series has been announced by Newcastle University LIVE for 2023. The  brilliant Early Music Programme takes place in the King’s Hall. 

Organised by the International Centre for Music Studies, events in the Live Music programme take place every Thursday. Lunchtime concerts are free and open to members of the public, staff and students.

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