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In benefits

For most of us, the recent earthquakes in India are little more than images of rubble and homeless people flashed across a television screen. But the devastation is all too real: An estimated 50,000 people are dead, and the cities of Bhujrappar and Bachau are largely uninhabitable. For the Triangle's Indian community--many of whom have relatives in India--the quake has brought out a large-scale relief effort, with 27 local groups having raised $100,000 so far. (Above is a photo taken by North Carolina native and UNC grad Ami Zota in Bhuj, where her extended family is dealing with the effects of the quakes.) At this point, refugee camps in the city of Bhuj consist of corrugated tin and tarps that will be unbearable during the June monsoon season. "If my relatives had been devastated, I'd be over there now," says Triangle resident Surabhi Shah. Shah and local musician John Medley are organizing a series of five concerts over the next three months, with the proceeds going to quake victims. Although Shah has relatives in India, they were not in the affected area at the time. "Since I've been spared, I feel a responsibility to get funds to where they're most needed," she says. The series kicks off March 25 at The Brewery, with a bill that combines alt-country and indie rock faves Trailer Bride, Regina Hexaphone, The Comas and Thad Cockrell. On April 8, Kings is sponsoring a benefit featuring Cherry Valance and Iskariot. Concerts by local jazz legend Nnenna Freelon and Latino musicians Carnavalito are in the works. For more information, go to --Angie Carlson

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