Mickey Hart: Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Hart was the son of champion marching band drummers; he was born to drum. After high school, he played in Air Force marching bands before landing in the San Francisco Bay Area where one day he met Bill Kreuzmann of the Grateful Dead. Soon the band had two drummers. He began his life-long study of various world percussion traditions with the legendary Allarakha, whose work with Ravi Shankar redefined the place of tabla in Indian classical music. He began a solo recording career, often in partnership with Allarakha’s son Zakir Hussain, while simultaneously taking on serious research on the history and anthropology of percussion. His studies led to a number of books, including Drumming at the Edge of Magic and Planet Drum, also the name of a band and hit CD which earned the first World Music Grammy.
Zakir Hussain: The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A national treasure in his native India, he is one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, renowned for his genre-defying collaborations in groups like Shakti, Masters of Percussion, the Diga Rhythm Band, Planet Drum, Tabla Beat Science, Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland, in trio with Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer and, most recently, with Herbie Hancock. As a composer, he has scored music for numerous feature films, major events and productions and has created three concertos. He has taught at Stanford, Princeton, and U.C. Berkeley. On January 15, 2018, HarperCollins India released Zakir’s long-awaited oral memoir, (available on Amazon), A Life in Music, by Nasreen Munni Kabir, the distinguished British television producer, director, and author.
Sikiru Adepoju: Born in Nigeria to a family so firmly ensconced in music that his father’s first name meant “descended from drummers,” Sikiru was still in his teens when he began touring and recording with the Inter-Reformers Band, led by one of the true pioneers of Afro-Beat, Nigerian Juju artist Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. He came to the U.S. in 1985 to play with O. J. Ekemode’s Nigerian All-Stars, and soon after connected with Babatunde Olatunji and became an essential member of the Drums of Passion. Knowing Olatunji brought him into the musical orbit of Mickey Hart, where he has contributed to projects from Planet Drum and the Global Drum Project to albums like Mystery Box, Supralingua, and At The Edge. He has also recorded with Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, and Zakir Hussain among many others. He has also lead groups like The Honeymakers, Afrika Heartbeat, and the Riddim Doctors.
Giovanni Hidalgo: As with his brothers in Planet Drum, Giovanni is the son of a renowned drummer, the conguero “Mañengue.” Raised in Puerto Rico, he played with Batacumbele and traveled to Cuba, where he and Jose Luis Quintana, “Changuito,” created rhythms which defined the next wave of Latin music. By 1985 he was working with Eddie Palmieri at the Village Gate, where Dizzy Gillespie heard him and invited him to join Dizzy’s United Nation Orchestra. In the ‘90s, he taught at Berklee College of Music. Since joining Planet Drum in 1990, Giovanni has also worked with a wide range of musicians, from Art Blakey to Don Byron to Sammy Hagar and Paul Simon.