It has long been understood that music is not just an universal language; but a language all its own…one that can be shared the world over.

Percussionists from across the planet have come together for “In the Groove” a world of rhythm and dance. The album is available now.

Planet Drum includes Mickey Hart form the Grateful Dead, Indian Tabla master Zakir Hussain, talking drum virtuoso Sikiru Adepoju form Nigeria, and Puerto Rican conga master Giovanni Hidalgo.

Zakir Hussain spoke on the project saying, “the first thing we all know about rhythms is that they are universal. So that is what makes it possible for rhythm players all over the world to be able to interact and communicate and be able to work together to make music.”

Mickey Hart added, “drums are a language unto themselves.”

In 1991, Planet Drum released their debut album and went on to win a Grammy Award for Best World Music.  The group repeated for a second Grammy in 2009.

Giovanni Hidalgo spoke on being a part of Planet Drum saying it is, “an honour for me to travel the whole world with all of them, because it is amazing when you analyze and you appreciate different cultures, different styles, from different countries — Africa, India, United States, Puerto Rico. It’s amazing and we respect all of them.”

With some of the players true masters of their instruments, Mickey Hart noted, “it was a challenge to be able to play together as a dance band.”

In the music video for “ King Clave” the group is joined by more than 50 drummers from around the world.

Sikiru Adepoju spoke on drumming via a statement saying, “drums form an integral part of Indigenous Cultures around the world… used through the centuries, not only for festive occasions, but to communicate (sending messages from village to village… even).  They feature prominently in a broad spectrum of community events (spiritual ceremonies, births, funerals, carnivals, etc), hence their universal appeal.”

In a process he calls processed percussion, Mickey Hart has been using technology to warp and manipulate the acoustic sounds of the drums to create new sounds including a bass guitar and even the sound of water drops from the tabla.  He explains, “so, it’s electronic, very much so, but most of it comes from an acoustic source that makes it rich and pure.”  Hart’s process isn’t limited to the studio, it can also be reproduced on a live stage.

Zakir Hussain notes, “it has been since the beginning of time when people would get around the fire and the drums would play and people would dance and chant and do all that stuff.  And there’s no reason why we can’t bring that traditional element into the into the modern sonic experience.”

feature photo credit: Tabla y duggi2.JPG