American jazz singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr. was forced to play by himself at a concert in China after officials refused to allow him to perform a revised set list for his show in Shanghai.


Harry Connick Jr. performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 21, 2007. ((Stephen Chernin/Associated Press))

Connick revealed Thursday that an old song list was mistakenly submitted to Chinese authorities ahead of last weekend's concert.

Foreign performers are required to hand over set lists in order to get a permit to play in China.

Officials insisted Connick play the songs on the submitted list, even though his band did not have the music for them.

"Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to give my fans in China the show I intended," Connick said in a statement.
Reports say Connick ended up playing the piano by himself with the band sitting silent on the stage.

Officials recant position on Bjork outburst

The incident comes just after Chinese authorities criticized Icelandic singer Bjork after she shouted "Tibet, Tibet" at a concert and promised more restrictions on Western performers.


Singer Bjork shouted 'Tibet! Tibet!' at a concert in Shanghai on March 2. ((Associated Press))

Bjork let out her cry after the song Declare Independence at a concert in China last week.

"This song was written more with the personal in mind, but the fact that it has translated to its broadest meaning, the struggle of a suppressed nation, gives me much pleasure," wrote the singer in a message posted on her website.

"I would like to wish all individuals and nations good luck in their battle for independence."

Talk of Tibetan independence is considered taboo in China, which has ruled the territory since 1951.

At the time, China's Culture Ministry released a statement saying the outburst "broke Chinese law and hurt Chinese people's feelings" and pledged to "further tighten controls."

But on Thursday, Vice-Minister of Culture Zhou Heping appeared to recant that statement, telling reporters that he regarded the incident as "an individual case."

"I don't think it will affect our invitation of artists from all over the world to come to China and perform, particularly during the Olympic Games."

He did say the performance of Declare Independence had not been approved by Chinese officials.

Performers are forbidden from playing material which "harms national unity."

Taiwanese pop star Chang Hui-Mei was banned from playing the mainland for a year after she sang Taiwan's national anthem during a ceremony for the island's president in 2000.

China considers Taiwan, which has governed its own affairs for half a century, part of its territory.

With files from the Associated Press