Over three decades as the innovative percussion engine of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart's ear for global sounds brought numerous unpredictable guests to the Dead's stage performances.
Hart's 1991 release Planet Drum was the natural outgrowth of this adventure, showcasing his gift as a supreme catalyst in convening the world's finest percussion talent for a dazzling collaboration – including Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, who is an international phenomenon in his own right. Zakir began his career as a child prodigy has gone on to win many awards, founded his own record label Moment! Records, and starred in two documentaries, 2003's "The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum" and 1998's "Zakir and His Friends." Planet Drum was recorded in Hart's Sonoma County home and studio, with the Dead's legendary crew turning virtually every room in the house into a work zone for each musician. The album won the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album, spent an unprecedented 26 weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart, and sells as a perennial favorite to this day.
Fifteen years have passed, and the friendship and musical partnership of Hart and Hussain, which began in the early 70s with their world fusion experiment Diga Rhythm Band, has continued to flourish. Their 2006 Planet Drum reunion tour was immensely well-received and germinated the idea to revisit "Planet Drum"
Hence this fresh collaboration of tranced-out grooves, elegant electronic programming and hypnotic tuned percussion that is the Global Drum Project. Masterfully produced by Hart and Hussain, the Global Drum Project once again enlists the great partnership of Sikuru Adepoju (Nigerian talking drum) and Giovanni Hidalgo (congas), as well as Taufiq Qureshi (brother to Zakir Hussain) on percussion & vocals, Niladari Kumar on sitar, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, and sampled vocals by the late, great Olatunji. Global Drum Project will be in stores October 2nd, 2007. The ensemble will again tour the U.S. this fall in support of the release.
In addition to Global Drum Project, Shout! Factory will be reissuing a series of catalog titles that will be made available digitally in October, and physically released in 2008. The titles include Diga Rhythm Band (One of the first "world music" recordings, a crystalline, remixed celebration of drumming and percussion featuring Hart, Hussain, nine other rhythmatists, and Jerry Garcia on two tracks), At The Edge (Companion to his acclaimed book debut, Drumming at the Edge of Magic (Harper San Francisco 1990), this exploration of the music of primeval man unfolds a serene soundscape of tuned percussion, ambient natural sounds, and guitar treatments by Jerry Garcia), Mystery Box ( An effervescent, pop-inflected album, full of breezy songs with layered vocals by England's Mint Juleps – and a vocal debut by Mickey Hart), Supralingua: Hart continued to push the "tribal space" boundaries of percussion and sound, beyond his Grammy-winning Planet Drum, with some of the same stellar guest personnel.