The Irish Emigrant
February 24, 2010
Benefit for Haiti
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Irish Americans Writers and Artists, Inc. host benefit for Haiti

Irish and Haitian musicians headline Feb. 24 event

Black 47; just one of the incredible acts lined up for Relief for Haiti: Island People Supporting Island People.
Black 47; just one of the incredible acts lined up for Relief for Haiti: Island People Supporting Island People.

One island people will help another through a multi-cultural evening of music and readings to raise money for the relief effort in Haiti. Hosted by Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. (IAW&A), the Wednesday, Feb. 24 event gets underway at 7 p.m. at Klub 45, the music venue above Connolly’s Pub on West 45th Street near New York’s Times Square.

Terry George, the Academy Award nominated director/writer of the film Hotel Rwanda will host “Relief for Haiti: Island People Supporting Island People.” Scheduled musical guests include Moya Brennan, Ashley Davis, Black 47, Jameson’s Revenge, Morning Star, Clay Ross & Matuto, Seanchai and Unity Squad, as well as a Haitian band Brother High Kanaval and Creole jazz band Mozajik. 

Readers will include National Book Award winner Colum McCann, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Malachy McCourt, T.J. English, Michael Patrick MacDonald and others.

Proceeds from the event will support the Haitian relief efforts of Concern Worldwide, the international humanitarian relief agency that was founded in Ireland 41 years ago. Concern has worked in Haiti since 1994 and its team of 260 staffers has developed a large local infrastructure that has put the organization at the heart of Haitian relief efforts.

“Island people are known for their fierce pride and independence,” IAW&A co-founder T.J. English said. “And yet, when disaster strikes, island people are made vulnerable by the very thing that makes them unique. Surrounded by water, they become dependant on the outside world for basic supplies. Few people know this better than the Irish. The earthquake that struck Haiti last month is on a scale equivalent to the Great Famine in Ireland.

“Directing our donations through Concern is the best way we can help our island brothers and sisters in Haiti,” he added.

“During the period of ‘The Great Hunger,’ when the people of Ireland were in greatest need, the world responded, and the Irish have never forgotten,” Siobhan Walsh, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide US said. “As Seamus Heaney so eloquently put it, ‘who is our neighbor, our neighbor is all mankind.’ This is an extraordinary example of the Irish never forgetting its history and always reaching out to help those less fortunate in their darkest hour. It’s a great honor for Concern to be chosen by the Irish American Writers & Artists and we thank them for making this event possible.”

Relief for Haiti: Island People Supporting Island People will take place at Connolly’s Pub, 3rd Floor, Klub 45, West 45th Street (between 6th and 7thAve.) on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.

Suggested donation is $30 and is tax deductible. IAW&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists both past and present.

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