Irish and Haitian stars will gather for Haiti relief

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 Wed., Feb. 24th event gets underway at 7:00 pm sharp 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.”

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