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Ford Comerica Global Thursdays Series Heats Up As Cool Fall Weather Arrives

posted on: Sep 10, 2008


What are the hottest sounds in India and northern Africa? Who’s rapping about Palestine and women’s rights? Gypsy music crossed with rock and roll and funk?!

Adventurous music lovers will find all this and much more in the 2008 Fall Season of Ford Comerica Global Thursdays, the weekly world music concert series at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

Global Thursdays is designed to spotlight musical styles from various cultures and nations around the world, presenting acts that might not otherwise perform for metro Detroit audiences. It remains one of the area’s most affordable nights out, with tickets at just $8, $10 and $12 and free parking.

The 2008 Fall Season begins and ends on the African continent. Launching the series on Thursday, September 25 is MC Rai, a leader of the new generation of Rai music artists. A native of Tunisia, MC Rai has performed alongside leading artists including Cheb I Sabbah, Bonnie Raitt and Michael Franti. The season closes December 18 with another African artist, vocalist Malika Zarra from Morocco, whose sleek stylings weave together various languages and musical traditions.

In October, rock and roll gets all shook up with traditional music originating from the region where Europe and Russia meet, with Hungary’s Little Cow (Oct. 2), the seven-piece band straight outta the Balkans, Kal (Oct. 16) and the world-fusion guitar duo of Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque (Nov. 6).

The first-ever rap act from Palestine, DAM hits the stage with raw energy and hard-hitting lyrics October 23. DAM is one of the groups featured in the new film Slingshot Hip Hop, which will screen as part of the AANM’s 4th annual Arab Film Festival November 14-16. And Syrian folk music melds with classical Arab maqams (musical modes) and improvisation when New York City-based chanteuse Gaida takes the stage December 4 in a return Global Thursdays engagement.

From the rich musical traditions of India come Dya Singh (Oct. 9), Trio Tarana (Oct. 30) and Prasanna (Nov. 13), presenting everything from the deeply spiritual to the clearly contemporary.

Michigan-based artists proudly representin’ this fall are Ann Arbor’s slick post-Afro-Beat experts NOMO (Nov. 20) and the always sizzling hip hop-soul sounds of Black Bottom Collective (Dec. 11) led by Khary Kimani Turner.

Global Thursdays tickets are just $8 (students with ID and Museum Members), $10 (advance sales end at 5 p.m. each Wednesday) and $12 (at the door) with free, lighted parking available in the city lot north of the Museum (turn north onto Neckel Street from Michigan Avenue to enter lot).

Global Thursdays tickets are available online at and by phone at 313.582.2266 or 313.624.0215. You’ll need a credit or debit card to purchase tickets online or by phone.


September 25
MC Rai
Arabic Rock-Hip Hop-Fusion
Born in the southern Tunisian city of Gabés, MC Rai is part of a new generation of Rai singers. In 1995, he developed his own distinct style of Algerian Rai, infusing it with the traits of his native Tunisian music and Western influences. MC Rai has performed with Rai master Khaled and DJ Cheb I Sabbah, as well as Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez and Michael Franti.

October 2
Little Cow
Hungarian Rock
Little Cow is a charismatic group of musicians who play Gypsy-tinged ska/rock/funk pop songs. Hailing from Hungary, Little Cow creates real party music that makes your feet move and keeps your mind stimulated.

October 9
Dya Singh
Sikh Spiritual & Global
Dya Singh digs deep into the vast reservoir of Sikh and Punjabi classical, spiritual and folk music, while embracing blues, jazz, folk, country and other global indigenous forms. Singh songs evoke the universal messages of truth, love, peace, harmony, equality and justice.

October 16
Romani Rock
Playing music from Bosnia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and their home base of Serbia, this seven-piece band features a dynamic blend of traditional instruments with a rock’n’roll sensibility, fueled by dance beats and rooted in Balkan blues.

October 23
Palestinian Rap
Featured in the 2008 film Slingshot Hip Hop, this first-ever Palestinian rap group delivers an East-West fusion of Arab rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies and urban hip hop. Their lyrics are influenced by the continuing Palestinian struggle for freedom and equality, as well as topics including terrorism, drugs and women’s rights.

October 30
Trio Tarana
World Jazz Improv
Trio Tarana is led by percussionist/composer Ravish Momin, who was born in India, and spent his childhood in Mumbai and Bahrain. “Tarana” refers to a song style in North Indian classical music, in which spoken syllables or mnemonic drum sounds are used to spontaneously create a fluid chant or composition.

November 6
Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque
World Fusion Guitar Duo
Inspired by the rhythms and melodies of flamenco, jazz, classical, rock and the Balkan region, this performance features the unrivalled guitar artistry of two of the finest players of their respective generations. Their music is carefully balanced between blazing virtuosity and sheer beauty.

November 13
East Indian Guitar
“How can you play Carnatic music on an electric guitar?” asked audiences when Prasanna put one of the world’s most ancient musical forms on one of the world’s most modern instruments. Leading his band, Prasanna brings out the subtlest of microtones and goes further by extending his signature style to jazz, blues, rock and classical music.

November 20
With a Fela Kuti-inspired fusion of strutting funk, slinky afro-beat rhythms and the leftfield tones of homemade instruments, the Michigan-based octet NOMO offers an ecstatic and organic groove. Their brainy compositions carefully integrate soul riffs, jazz-flavored solos, and unexpected sounds.

December 4
Arab Vocalist
Highly personal and emotionally intense describe the compositions of Gaida, a New York-based vocalist who integrates classical Arabic music, Syrian folk music and free improvisations on traditional Arabic maqams (modes). Her “filigreed singing” is supported by a top-notch backup band.

December 11
Black Bottom Collective
Detroit Hip Hop & Soul
Rolling Stone called BBC’s sound “a combustible rush of rhymes, poetry, live instrumentals and raw energetic soul.” Led by Detroit writer Khary Kimani Turner, this ever-evolving ensemble embodies the cultural energy and sheer perseverance of its legendary namesake Detroit neighborhood.

December 18
Malika Zarra
Moroccan Vocalist
A self-described multicultural shape-shifter, Zarra is known for her sinuous mezzo-soprano and multilingual presentation. She leaps between languages and musical traditions, uniting and enriching them all. Zarra infuses traditional Middle Eastern music with jazz, world and the indigenous styles of Africa.
Global Thursdays is brought to you by Ford, Comerica Charitable Foundation; Metro Times, The Wallace Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and DoubleTree Hotel.