Rockin' For Relief: Haiti Relief

Tag: charity, concert, jen sotham, music, poko lambro


BUSAN, South Korea - At approximately 5pm on January 12th, the lives of nearly 3,000,000 people were forever altered when a massive earthquake tore the already poverty-stricken Haiti apart at the seams. In the twelve days following the initial 7.0 quake, as many as 52 aftershocks were recorded.

Local expatriates aren’t strangers to helping those in need.     Each year, the community of teachers who live and work in Korea organize countless events such as clothing drives, auctions and orphanage visits.  Just this past week, a group of Changwon teachers performed Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” to raise money for the Women’s Shelter of Masan.  And two weeks ago, another music-fueled benefit, organized by Denise Marques, raised money for the victims of the Haiti disaster.  ]

When I hear the words ‘Busan’ and ‘Fundraising’ in the same sentence, Lynsey Bolin comes to mind.  The Busan born, Iowa-raised university instructor has worked tirelessly to put together five fundraisers in the past several years, including the famed bachelor/bachelorette auctions.  Of the fruits of her efforts, Lynsey said,  “From my past experience with fundraisers here, the one thing I can count on is the enthusiasm and support of the foreign community. They definitely come out of the woodwork to help out a good cause. I find that they are always wanting to donate time or money or clothes. However, in Korea it's hard for them mostly due to the language barrier. So, when there is a chance for foreigners to donate, they definitely make their presence known.”

Perhaps the reason that the expat. community is so eager to help has something to do with the fact that living in a foreign country has given us the sense of belonging to the global village.  Or maybe it’s the result of so many of us having traveled extensively in third-word countries, having had first-hand contact with poverty.  It could be that we are aware of how blessed we are to have good jobs, roofs over our heads and money in the bank here in South Korea.  Whatever the fuel, the fire is certainly aglow.  

Anthony Garcia, one half of the rocking duo Poko Lambro and organizer of the upcoming Busan to Haiti fundraiser, said,   "The obvious reason I thought of putting this event together was to help Haiti, and for Busan to do it's part for that country. It dawned on me one day that there had been nothing organized yet and it just seemed natural to get something going. And I'm happy that so many musicians have agreed to donate their time to such an important cause!"

The Busan to Haiti benefit will take place this Friday, March 19th, at Vinyl Underground in Kyungsung Dae.  The event, which will run from 8pm-2am, boasts a lineup of some of this city’s finest talent.  A donation of 10,000 won (which will be donated directly to the Red Cross) will be accepted at the door, and will give guests a free make-ju or well drink.

Meet the Musicians

Jen Sotham – Acoustic singer/songwriter with a tendency to bust out a few inappropriate classic rock covers.

Mike Laveck – An authentic singer/songwriter and brilliant sound engineer who sometimes channels the ‘Y’ in CSNY.

Hajimama – A high-energy, campy punk rock band with a hysterical Hangeul twist.

Conor Murphy – A persevering singer/songwriter with gritty, relatable original tunes and some good sing-a-longs up his sleeve.

Poko Lambro – A soulful, bluesy duo who captivate crowds with their down home roots vibe and powerful original songs.

John Bocskay – A true blue whose catchy and sometimes haunting original songs make you feel as if you’ve heard them somewhere before.

Klickitat – A jazz/funk trio whose eclectic song choices and true mastery of their instruments will make you wanna move your dancin’ feet.

The Headaches – A down and dirty rock-n-roll band who will make you want to run to the nearest dive bar and down a shot of whisky.

Lhasa – Lhasa has been gaining acclaim here in Busan with their gigs at The Basement in PNU and always put on a good show.

Burning Sensation – A group from Changwon that does a mix of originals and covers. They placed second in last year's Busan Battle of the Bands

What the Musicians Say

“We're happy to assist in any way we can. I think a lot of people in our community have wanted to contribute somehow, and music brings people of all cultures together, so what better way to show our support.” – Gino Brann of Klickitat

“Strangely, I think this is the first true benefit show I've taken part in as a musician. The scale of the Haiti quake was staggering, more than I can really process, but if we can make a rock and roll earthquake to raise a few funds, it's a start!” – Chris Tharp of The Headaches

“English teachers in Korea are really fortunate.  We all have really good lives here.  If we can help by playing music – it’s a no brainer.  It’s something positive that we all love to do anyway.” – Dan Panozzo of Hajimama

Busan Haps' managing editor, Bobby McGill, who will MC the show, added: "This is something that struck the collective conscious of the world and will be one of those difficult memories we will carry with us a lifetime. Pulling our resources together and helping those in their greatest moment of need is something that life requires us to do and is something we simply can't ignore."

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The Busan to Haiti Benefit Show will take place Friday, March 19th from 8pm on at Vinyl Underground in Kyungsung. Attendees will be asked to donate 10,000 KRW at the door to help this worthy cause.

Click Here to Learn How You Can Help More.

Get more info on the event at Facebook.                             



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