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Bands rally to Haiti benefit concert

THE charity event "Dance for Haiti" held last Friday night at Zhijiang Dream Factory raised 36,400 yuan (US$5,331).

The benefit performance featured six locally based bands, and highlighted the humanitarian response in the international community to the catastrophic earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation on January 12.

Promoter Three Chord Truth was founded in 2009 by Nathaniel Mallon and Carl Siegel to develop, manage and promote international music talent, and represents Shanghai-based reggae band Lions of Puxi.

The night's scheduled lineup highlighted a variety of bands formed in Shanghai, beginning with French and American acoustic gypsy jazz trio Wayne's Basement, followed by Shanghainese psychedelic rock experience Duck Fight Goose.

Also playing were classic rock expat mainstays Studio 188, pop-rock quartet Monroe Stahr, Lions of Puxi and Xinjiang fusion rock band Weghur.

Formed in 2004 by Mexican-American lead vocalist Michael Luevano and Australian drummer/vocalist Michael "Mal" Collins, Studio 188's infectious sound and rock 'n' roll authenticity have kept the band No. 1 in Shanghai's party music scene.

To increase awareness and raise funds for disaster relief, the organizers, together with media partner Touchmedia, venue partner Zhijiang Dream Factory, and all musical acts gave their services at no charge.

Ticket price was 100 yuan and the organizers will donate all proceeds from ticket sales to Habitat for Humanity and One Foundation to be used in international aid efforts. So far, One Foundation has already collected over 5 million yuan earmarked for aid recovery in Haiti.

"The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the international community's response to this disaster," says co-promoter Carl Siegel.

"By bringing together these six monstrously talented bands from all different styles and nationalities, we showcased the best in local music, keeping hearty and hopeful in times of catastrophe, while recognizing the gravity of the situation," he adds.

Habitat for Humanity, an international NGO that has been at work in Haiti for 26 years, represented disaster response organizations active in the Shanghai community at the event.

The organization is currently offering a three-fold response to the Haiti earthquake - clearing debris from home sites, providing Habitat for Humanity Recovery Starter kits of materials and tools so families can repair their damaged homes; and building transitional housing.

Their Shanghai representative made a presentation at the benefit show. "We want to help families with shelter right away, while also thinking of longer term housing solutions," said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford during a recent visit to Haiti.

"Our goal is to put families into safe, durable transitional shelters that can be used for long periods and improved upon over time."

The idea for "Dance for Haiti" came from a fan's e-mail sent to the Lions of Puxi's Webpage, asking if the Lions would perform for free to raise money for aid in Haiti, says the event's co-promoter Nathaniel Mallon.

"Rather than make it a Lions show, we thought why not throw a big show, with all types of music, with all types of fans. Let's gather the masses," he says.

"Our Shanghai community responded with amazing support. Just two days later we had five more bands, a venue and media. The ball started rolling, the buzz got around, and the people put their hearts out."

China has promised to send Haiti 30 million yuan worth of emergency relief materials, including medicines, tents, food, drinking water, water purifying facilities and clothes.


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