Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain and the Return of Planet Drum
March 15, 2022
In 1991, Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain formed Planet Drum, a global percussion ensemble that brought together the world's greatest rhythm masters into a one-of-a-kind improvisational supergroup. For the first time in 15 years, Planet Drum will be performing live at the Frost Amphitheater on May 1, 2022, along with Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers as well as many other musical guests. In what is sure to be an epic, vibrational, healing experience, this is a show not to be missed.
Planet Drum's self-titled original release remains one of the most successful percussion recordings of all time, topping the Billboard Charts for 26 weeks and winning the first-ever Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.
"We don't share the same melodies, we don't share the same harmonies, we don't share the same languages, but we share the same rhythm." ~Mickey Hart
Best known for his nearly five decades as an integral part of The Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart has become one of the most successful musicians in the world. Equally revered, Zakir Hussain is a virtuoso tabla musician, composer, and music producer whose genre-bending collaborations have shaped the landscape of world music. Having originally met amid the Vietnam and India-Pakistan Wars of 1971, they share a love of rhythm that transcends race, culture, and religion and have vowed to share this with the world.
Along with Hart and Hussain, the group includes two of the world's most renowned percussionists, Nigeria's "Mozart of the talking drum," Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo, one of the greatest congueros of all time and a master of all things Latin percussion. Completing this reunion, the show features a posthumous appearance by an original patriarch of Planet Drum, West Africa's late civil rights leader and drum virtuoso Babatunde Olantunji. The group's upcoming Frost performance features live acoustic percussion reborn when combined with Hart's electronic musical database and a custom-built instrument known as RAMU (Random Access Musical Universe). Using RAMU brings echoes of the past, allowing Baba Olatunji's voice to be woven into the group's intricate live drum chorus.
The Frost Amphitheater show represents a homecoming for Mickey Hart, who along with Bob Weir, played this legendary tree-encircled venue on the Stanford University campus 14 times in the 1980s as members of the Grateful Dead. Planet Drum's reunion performance also marks the return of Giovanni Hidalgo, who recently experienced the amputation of three of his fingers due to his long-time struggle with diabetes. Having perfected the stick and hand percussion technique of his youth, the show serves as a fitting tribute to his success in overcoming adversity to the delight of his many fans.
Against a background of war, a global refugee crisis, climate change, and extended isolation through the global pandemic, Planet Drum's mission of breaking down cultural barriers and using the power of rhythm to connect us all is more relevant than ever. In the words of Mickey Hart,
"The planet is out of rhythm. We have lost our groove." We hope you'll join us on May 1st to help get it back!