Detroit's Concert of Colors is such a great catalyst for hope and unity, so it's exciting to see that summer festival's spirit continue to shine during the rest of the year at a series of Global Thurdays performances organizers call a "sister" series to the Concert of Colors.
This season's Global Thursdays schedule launches September 8 with a performance by Los Angeles-based Syrian American hip-hop artist and producer Omar Offendum. This show is part of a weekend schedule of special programs related to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, U.S. Rising: Emerging Voices in Post 9/11 America, which explores the country's journey over the past decade and the road forward towards a more unified nation.
Offendum was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington D.C. and lives in Los Angeles. His lyrical hip-hop and rap contains reflections of those multiple cultural influences like the short Spanish-language snippet I caught in "Damascus".
October 13 brings a performance from Armenian-American Ara Topouzian, who honors his Armenian heritage while incorporating music from around the Middle East, as well as jazz, fusion, new age and blues influences, into his own music. The Detroit-based artist performs on the kanun (a Middle Eastern harp) and other Armenian and Middle Eastern instruments, along with oud (Arabic stringed instrument) virtuoso Joe Zeytoonian and percussionist Myriam Eli.
Get ready for laughs on November 3 as a crew of young Arab-American creatives hit the stage for an evening of sketches and stand-up comedy. The Ann Arbor-based indie folk musician Hana Malhas, who spent her childhood in Jordan, rounds out the bill that evening. You can check out Malhas' music online.
We caught Wendell Harrison's appearance during the Don Was All-Star Revue at this summer's Concert of Colors, and jazz buffs have another chance to see this legendary saxophonist as he closes out this Global Thursdays season with a December 8 show. Detroit-based soul/funk musician Amp Fiddler joins Harrison onstage to help the sax legend celebrate his first new release in seven years, It's About Damn Time, with this performance. You can also check out a few of Amp Fiddler's tracks online.
Global Thursdays programs begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Arab American National Museum's 156-seat auditorium, which is on the lower level of the museum at 13624 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, Michigan. Free parking is available in the lighted lot behind the museum. Global Thursday shows are $10 ($9 for museum members). Purchase tickets in advance at the museum's Web site or at the door.
© Dominique King 2011 All rights reserved