Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart’s innovative Planet Drum CD convened some of the world’s finest drum talent for a collaboration that won the very first GRAMMY for world music—bringing together Nigerian drum legend Babatunde Olatunji, Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Nigerian talking drum ace Sikiru Adepoju, and Puerto Rico’s master conguero Giovanni Hidalgo, among others. The 1991 album spent an unprecedented 26 weeks at 1 on the Billboard world music chart, and continues to sell as a perennial favorite.
Now, fifteen years later as The Global Drum Project, the musical partnership of Hart and Hussain—which began with their groundbreaking 1970s world fusion experiment Diga Rhythm Band—resumes, with a fresh collaboration of tranced-out grooves, elegant electronic programming and hypnotic tuned percussion and again enlists the great partnership of Adepoju and Hidalgo. This time they are joined by Taufiq Qureshi on percussion & vocals, Niladari Kumar on sitar, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, and the late, great Olatunji in sampled vocals from the original sessions. Elements from Hart’s various world music recordings, including the Kaluli tribespeople of Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, are woven with the live performances into a danceable, multi-textured celebration of rhythm.