Planet Drum and Playing For Change Present  “King Clavé”  Rhythms of the World Unite as One

September 22, 2021

Planet Drum and Playing For Change Present  “King Clavé” - Rhythms of the World Unite as One

“Rhythm is at the very center of humanity. One who knows the rhythm knows the world.” - Mickey Hart

After the unprecedented success of Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice in 2020, Playing For Change and the United Nations Population Fund decided to
continue joining forces to unite the world through the power of music. Peace Through Music was set as a virtual event and concert to inspire people to act for peace and justice, everywhere for everyone. The global event called for equality, human rights, and an end to discrimination. Peace Through Music 2020 reached 4 million views within 48 hours of its exclusive Facebook premiere, connecting and inspiring millions of people in 193 countries.
One of the more than 200 musicians that made Peace Through Music 2020 possible was Mickey Hart, a three-time Grammy winner, student of the world’s music and former
member of the Grateful Dead, now touring with Dead & Company. Hart is, and has been for over 50 years, a dedicated drummer/percussionist, scholar, author,
composer, visual artist, entertainer, and activist. In 1969, he was introduced to tabla virtuoso, Zakir Hussain. Their partnership and rhythmic connection has been a constant ever since, eventually leading to the creation of Planet Drum.

Planet Drum was founded in 1990 with the intention of illustrating how the power of rhythm can connect people from all different cultures and geographical backgrounds. Mickey Hart sent out invitations to the most renowned percussionists across the globe, asking if they’d join him in his studio for a one-week session of improvised rhythmic composition. Each virtuoso took their turn creating the initial culturally specific grooves then passed the rhythm around to the others with
each track representing a different traditional music. Ultimately, they blended together and the whole became greater than its parts. 
The musicians on the first Planet Drum album were from the United States (Hart), India (Zakir Hussain and T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram), Nigeria (Sikiru Adepoju and Babatunde Olatunji), Brazil (Airto Moreira and vocalist Flora Purim), and from Puerto Rico (Giovanni Hidalgo). Planet Drum was released in 1991 and spent twenty-six weeks at the top of the Billboard charts, winning the first World Music Grammy in the process.

“The story of percussion runs deep in history and magic. Its power tells us of a fascinating human adventure. It is a privilege to play music, and good fortune to live long enough to fully appreciate and understand its enormous power. We must also remember that music is great fun, for this is the bottom line in music. People laugh and cry in different ways. Music is a very natural human condition that allows for the expression of very personal and difficult feelings to be discussed. How fortunate for us that the secrets of this mysterious art form are preserved for us always in the joy of playing music.” -Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead

Playing For Change has collaborated with Planet Drum on a new work entitled" King Clavé," specifically created for the UN General Assembly and partnership.

This extra special “Song Around The World” is the first new release by Planet Drum since their second Grammy Award winning album in 2009. It features Mickey Hart along with legendary percussionists Sikiru Adepoju, a master of the talking drum who toured the world with renowned Nigerian Juju artist Chief Ebenezer Obey and his Inter- Reformers Band as well as Babatunde Olatunji; Zakir Hussain, who studied tabla under his father Ustad Allarakha and began touring at the age of 12; Giovanni Hidalgo who’s widely acknowledged as the greatest conguero of his generation and has played with the greatest musicians and bands in Latin music including Tito Puente, Los Von Von, Batacumbele, Changuito, El Negro and more; and a posthumous appearance by West African drum virtuoso Babatunde Olatunji. Supporting the aforementioned is a cast of 70 traditional drummers in India, led by Zakir Hussain; legendary Puerto Rican percussionist (and father of Giovanni Hidalgo) José Manuel Hidalgo "Mañengue"; along with Puerto Rican vocalists and support drummers, in addition to dancers from Ghana and a 5,000 person drum circle led by Hart. 
“‘King Clavé’ is a celebration of rhythm around the world, and with music, we reconnect heart beats through shared humanity.” – Mark Johnson, Playing For Change Co-Founder

Planet Drum members have a long history with the UN and activism—the late Babatunde Olatunji's drums were displayed during the “Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum” exhibit in March 2009 as part of the commemoration for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and he had previously performed at the UN General Assembly; Zakir Hussain performed at the UN for the first International Jazz Day in 2012; Giovanni Hidalgo toured with the legendary jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations All-Star Orchestra and has shown a lifelong commitment to education including teaching at Berklee College of Music; and Mickey Hart has been at the forefront of music healing and therapy for decades including his senate testimony in 1991 that helped increase funds for the study and research of music therapy.
“King Clavé,” is set to one of the most referenced and universally used rhythm called the ‘clavé’. 
The clavé is the basis, serving as a skeletal rhythmic figure, around which various drums and percussion are played in most African, Caribbean, South American and New Orleans music, amongst others. 
Through the rhythms of this song, hearts are connected, and differences disappear, illuminating how deeply humanity is interconnected and revealing the truth of the adage: WE ARE ONE.