Prepare to be captivated through musical experiences like no other consisting of Mauritanian, Irish, Egyptian and Yemeni genres. Tickets are now on sale for The Arab American National Museum’s Global Fridays 2016 Winter/Spring Season – a celebration of musical traditions from around the world – offering engaging musical journeys right here in southeast Michigan.
The 2016 Winter/Spring Season opens 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, with a performance by Noura Mint Seymali, one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists. Her experience of growing up in an iggawen, or griot, family has strongly shaped her own musical message for a global audience. Backed by a declarative, funk-speaking rhythm section, the band made a formidable debut on the international stage releasing their first full-length album, Tzenni, on Glitterbeat Records in 2014.
Global Fridays festivities continue 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, with an Irish dance workshop and 8 p.m. performance by The Murphy Beds, comprised of Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O’Leary. The concert, in partnership with the Gaelic League of Detroit, is presented in conjunction with the AANM exhibition The Map is Not the Territory: Parallel Paths – Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish. This performance marks the centennial of the Easter Rising, in which a group of Irish nationalists paved the way for establishing what is now the modern-day Republic of Ireland.
The musical journey then masterfully explores the treasures of instrumental and vocal Egyptian expression at 8 p.m. Friday, April 29 with a performance by Tarek Abdallah and Adel Shams El-Din, known as the veteran master of the riqq. Abdallah's fluid oud improvisations and Shams El-Din's dexterous negotiation of the complex rhythmic cycles create something fresh and original from an almost lost tradition.
The 2016 Winter/Spring season closes at 8 p.m. Friday, May 13, with a performance by Yemeni traditional artist Abdulrahman Al Akhfash. An oud player and vocalist, Al Akhfash hails from a line of musicians steeped in the Yemeni musical tradition. His mix of traditional Yemeni music recordings and his own compositions have made him popular across Yemen and have built a bridge between different cultures.
In celebration of the Yemeni musical showcase, renowned Yemeni jewelry expert and author Marjorie Ransom will host a free lecture 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 13. Her new book, Silver Treasures from the Land Of Sheba, Regional Yemeni Jewelry, highlights her vast knowledge and experience in the art of traditional Middle Eastern silver jewelry. In the 1960s, her 30+ year career as a United States diplomat began where she traveled with her late husband across Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Egypt, collecting more than 2000 pieces of silver jewelry. Upon retirement from the Department of State, she organized her collection into what became the Silver Speaks: Traditional Jewelry of the Middle East exhibition, which AANM proudly hosted in 2007.
Since the Arab American National Museum (AANM) opened on May 5, 2005, its Global Fridays multicultural performance series – a sister series to the AANM’s 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 Fridays experience are after-show artist “meet and greets” and CD signings.