Mickey Hart - Drums, vocals; John Molo - Drums; Steve Kimock - Guitar; Rasson Fredreics - Electric Bass; Hernandez - Percussion, vocals; Vivica Morleo - Keyboards, vocals; Gladys Rogers - Vocals, Talking Drum
This performance was captured on May 30th, 1999 at the Mountain Aire Festival in scenic Angels Camp, California. Nestled in the woods that Mark Twain helped make famous, the two-day festival always featured eclectic, cutting-edge acts, and Mickey Hart's Planet Drum is no exception. Hart leads his star-studded cast of musicians through 13 open-ended songs that investigate how drums from all over the world can combine to create a new inspiring sound.
Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead came up with the Planet Drum concept. Hart had the idea to recruit drummers from all over the world and attempt to incorporate their different styles, rhythmic patterns, and types of drums into a new, global, all-encompassing style. An album entitled Planet Drum was released in 1991 on Rykodisc. Joining the Brooklyn-born Hart was an all-star cast featuring the likes of world-renowned percussionists Sikiru Adepoju and Babatunde Olatunji from Nigeria, Zakir Hussain and T.H. Vinayakram from India, Giovanni Hidalgo and Frank Colón from Puerto Rico, and the husband/wife duo of Airto Moreira and Flora Purim representing Brazil. The 13-track LP was a major success, even winning the inaugural prize for Best World Music Album at the Grammy Awards. It spent an astonishing 26 weeks atop the World Music Chart.
Though the album was a one-off, Hart toured with many of those same musicians under the moniker Planet Drum occasionally over the years. The concerts, like this one captured, were exhilarating, jam-happy affairs that were musically unpredictable. Sikiru Adepoju has leant his signature talking drum to both of Hart's most recent groups, the Mickey Hart Band and Rhythm Devils.