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Dakota to host benefit for Haiti on Sunday

When the Mexican jazz band Sacbé canceled its Jan. 31 date at the Dakota, Lowell Pickett saw an opportunity to do good.

When the Mexican jazz band Sacbé canceled its Jan. 31 date at the Dakota, Lowell Pickett saw an opportunity to do good. He contacted the American Refugee Committee and offered to host a benefit at his downtown Minneapolis jazz club and restaurant.

Details are still a bit sketchy — this is coming together quickly — but here’s what we know so far.

Members of ARC will be present, including Monte Achenbach, who just returned from two weeks in Haiti and will give his personal account of what he saw, what the people of Haiti are saying, and what the future holds.

Several musical artists are scheduled to perform. Allison Scott will contribute her pop-soul stylings (think Bonnie Raitt). Fiery Cuban pianist and Dakota favorite Nachito Herrara will play a solo set and later be joined by vocalist Debbie Duncan. Singer/guitarist Adam Levy of the Honeydogs will be there, solo or (maybe) with a trio.

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Rounding out the night will be vocalist and percussionist Estaire Godinez, who’s in town for two CD release shows Friday and Saturday night. She’ll be backed by her own band.

And here’s the coolest part: Last week, students at the High School for the Recording Arts in St. Paul released a music video that features an original song and images from Haiti. So far, it has drawn more than 80,000 hits on YouTube. Some members of the group will be on hand to perform their song. Learn more about the video and watch it here.

Award-winning West African poet Ibé Kaba, who was a hit at last year’s ARC benefit, will also perform. Here’s a video from the Blue Nile.

Jazz88 (KBEM-FM) has stepped up as a community sponsor.

Sunday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m.: Unite for Haiti Benefit at the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall. Tickets $20 (100 percent of each ticket will go to the American Refugee Committee). Buy online here or call 612-332-1010.