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Devendra Banhart Hosting Downtown Concert Thursday To Benefit Venezuelan Hospitals

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(Photo courtesy of Devendra Banhart)
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Indie singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart will host an impromptu concert Thursday to raise money for medical supplies in his native Venezuela. Banhart is Venezuelan-American and spent much of his childhood in the country, where, according to The New York Times, "the economic crisis in this country has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans." Banhart will take the stage at downtown's Dilettante Annex for an acoustic, intimate set tomorrow at 8 p.m. He'll be followed by Karaoke Dreams by Amy Von Harrington. Dilettante is donating the space, and Banhart says 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards the purchase of medical supplies in Venezuela. In an email, Banhart wrote that he knew of the depths of the Venezuelan medical crisis from news reports and social media, but also from "family members that live there and they tell me what they see."

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(Courtesy of Devendra Banhart)
The New York Times reports that Venezuelan hospitals have been plagued by chronic shortages of antibiotics and intravenous solutions, along with basic necessities like gloves, soap and even food. The numbers are equally staggering: the Times reports that the rate of death among infants under a month old has increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals over the past three years, and the rate of death among new mothers increased by almost five times in that same period. Banhart writes that family members who work as doctors in Venezuelan hospitals attribute the root cause of the crisis to "monumental mismanagement by the powers that oppressively govern the entire nation."

"How to fix it? I have no clue! But for now, for today, for the next few weeks, we can try to address the most pressing and urgent needs of those suffering at this very moment," Banhart wrote. Banhart comes from a long line of doctors, including his great great great great grandfather, legendary Venezuelan physician Francisco Antonio Risquez. Banhart will distribute the medical supplies with the help of his cousin and uncle, both of whom are Venezuelan-born doctors and "extremely well acquainted with the [country's] medical community."

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Tickets are $31.30 and available here. Donations are also accepted on the website. Dilettante Annex is located at 110 Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.