Acadiana's Pine Leaf Boys safe after Istanbul Bombings
IZMIR - An Acadiana roots band who was touring Turkey at the time of the Istanbul bombings says they are safe and all accounted for.
The Pine Leaf Boys arrived in Istanbul, Turkey on Monday as part of a State Department tour of the country. The band toured Izmir, Turkey Tuesday when news of the Istanbul bombings broke.
The band took to Facebook on Tuesday just as chaos was breaking out around them.
Officials say at least 50 people were killed in the attack Tuesday at the city airport's international terminal. As many as four attackers may have been involved.
The boys beat a path east to Ankara, where they posted an all-clear message after they had made it to safety. The band noted that they were forced to use a VPN to provide updates to their fans back in America due to tight monitoring by the Turkish government of all transmissions of data coming in and going out of the country in the wake of the attack. There was a complete block of all Facebook transmissions in the hours after the blasts ripped through Istanbul's airport.
The Pine Leaf Boys were among 12 bands chosen by the United States State Department to share American culture and build goodwill with locals.
"I can't think of any better way to strengthen relationships with other countries than just to send down some great music, especially Cajun music from down here in Louisiana," accordion player Wilson Savoy said in an interviewed with Lafayette station, KATC-TV.
In the most recent post from the Pine Leaf Boys, they said they've been asked to play a "quiet and subdued" set on the night after the attack.
Before this most recent crisis, the boys were able to do extensive touring of the sights in Turkey including ancient ruins in Izmir. They'd been in the country just two weeks prior to their most recent visit on an earlier tour stop.