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Arab American National Museum Global Thursdays Offers All-Star Season

posted on: Feb 10, 2012


They are perennial favorites, those beloved crowd pleasers who hit it out of the park every time. They offer comedy and music inspired by far-away places including South America, Latin America and Eastern Europe. They are the artists of the 2012 Winter Spring season of Global Thursdays at the Arab American National Museum.

This world music and performance art series starts not on a Thursday, but at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 24, with The Dean of Comedy, Dean Obeidallah. A leading figure in the burgeoning Arab American comedy movement, Obeidallah performs across the U.S.; he appeared on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams late last year with Iranian American comedienne Negin Farsad, his partner on the in-production documentary The Muslims Are Coming.

On March 22, Global Thursdays is proud to welcome back the powerful fusion double bill of Wisaal and Eastern Blok, followed by the brilliant Brazilian percussionist Nanny Assis with his musical compadres on April 26.

Closing out the series on May 17 is an act that has packed the AANM Auditorium several times; now La Chispa and Company are back with a brand-new production, Duendeando, featuring some of the best American and Spanish flamenco artists backed by a tight live band.

Read more about this season’s artists below.

Since 2005, this multicultural performance series – a sister to the annual summer Concert of Colors world music festival in Midtown Detroit – has offered high-quality musical and spoken-word presentations for fans of traditional and world music and those with adventurous cultural tastes.

Enhancing the Global Thursdays experience are the Museum’s intimate 156-seat Auditorium and the after-show artist “meet and greets” and CD signings. The $10 ticket price ($9 for Museum Members) and free, lighted parking makes Global Thursdays a great entertainment value for everyone.

For complete Global Thursdays information and to purchase tickets online, visit Tickets are also available at the door.

The Global Thursdays 2012 Winter/Spring Season is made possible by DTE Energy, MASCO and Comerica. Accommodations for Global Thursdays artists are provided by DoubleTree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn.

2012 Winter/Spring Global Thursdays @ Arab American National Museum

February 24 – Special Friday Event
Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah’s comedy comes in large part from having a Palestinian father and a Sicilian mother. An award-winning comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil comedy special, Obeidallah is a co-creator and co-producer of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, and has made numerous TV and radio appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox News Radio and the BBC. He is the recipient of the inaugural Bill Hicks Spirit Award for thought-provoking comedy, and his one-man show I Come in Peace was an official selection of the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival.

Presented in collaboration with the Michigan State University Migrations of Islam project

March 22
Wisaal & Eastern Blok
Wisaal fuses elements of its Arabic musical heritage with Klezmer, Indian and American influences, using Arabic pieces as frameworks for traditional forms and rhythmic patterns to blend with percussively charged pop and global grooves. Eastern Blok effortlessly blends classical and jazz music traditions of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia while employing Middle Eastern motifs and evoking the sounds of Eastern European Klezmer music. They team up to create a distinctive sonic tapestry for the Global Thursdays audience.,

Presented in collaboration with Michigan State University Community Music School

April 26
Nanny Assis & Friends
Bahia, Brazil native Nanny Assis is a hard talent to define. He started his career as a drummer and percussionist, but has developed into a brilliant multiform musician. Now a singer, song-writer and master percussionist, he has played with such artists as Vinicius Cantauria and John Patitucci, and adds his flavor to popular music, Brazilian Jazz, Afro-Brazilian and other folkloric sounds from his homeland. Assis has become one of the top percussionists in the Brazilian music industry, sought after by world-class musicians for both studio recordings and live performances.

May 17
La Chispa and Company
When fans and critics talk about Valeria Montes, aka La Chispa (The Spark), they use words like “mesmerizing” and “beauty in motion.” Trained in her native Mexico, Spain and the U.S., La Chispa, a 2010 Kresge Artist Fellow, is known for her passionate and graceful interpretation of flamenco cante (song) and for the fireworks of her complex rhythmic zapateado (footwork). La Chispa presents her newest production, Duendeando, accompanied by some of the most renowned U.S. and Spanish flamenco artists and a stellar live band.

Global Thursdays tickets, $10/$9 Museum Members, are available in advance at and at the door.

All Global Thursdays performances take place in the Lower Level Auditorium at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave. just west of Schaefer Road in Dearborn. Free, lighted parking is available in the municipal lot north of the Museum.

Complete information at or by calling 313.624.0215.