sealPurdue News

September 12, 2002

Grateful Dead drummer brings world beat to Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and his band, Bembé Orisha, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Purdue University.

The performance been moved from Elliott Hall to the more intimate Loeb Playhouse. Admission is $25 for general public, $20 for Purdue students and children K-12. Tickets can be purchased at Purdue box offices or charged by phone at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets. Bembé Orisha is presented by Purdue Convocations.

"The sound of Bembé Orisha comes from the lands of Africa, Cuba, Iran, India and the Americas, creating a new music – not Western, not Eastern – but a present world voice," says leader and former Grateful Dead drummer Hart.

"By celebrating these traditions, Bembé Orisha unites cornerstone cultures to feed our musical passions. One of the strongest ways to unite a world vision is through music and Bembé Orisha is the West African term for 'party for the saints,' and it is that for all those who believe in the power of rhythm and music."

Bembé Orisha includes Hart on trap drums, balaphon, kalimba and RAMU (Random Access Musical Universe); Nengue Hernandez on congas and Latin percussion; Bobby Vega on bass; Barney Doyle on guitar; Sikiru Adepojo on talking drum; Glenys Rogers on vocals and talking drum; Greg Ellis on middle eastern percussion; and Azam Ali on vocals and dulcimer.

Hart is best known for his nearly three decades as an integral part of the rock band the Grateful Dead.

His tireless study of the world's music led him to join with, among others, Zakir Hussain, Baba Olatunji, Airto Moreira, Giovanni Hidalgo and Sikiru Adepojo to form the band Planet Drum. Their self-titled album was No. 1 on the Billboard World Music Chart for 26 weeks and received the Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1991, the first Grammy ever awarded in this category.

Hart also has produced "The World" series for Rykodisc, acting as producer and executive producer for a wide span of music, including pre-World War II recordings from Bali, early 20th century Central/South American ethnographic material from the Library of Congress collection and more modern material from Africa and Asia.

His three books, "Drumming at the Edge of Magic," "Planet Drum" and "Spirit into Sound," document his work for the printed page. His most recent project was as co-artist and producer of the great taiko drumming troupe Kodo's "Mondo Head" album, released in April by Sony.

CONTACT: Larry Sommers, Purdue Convocations, (765) 494-5045,;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Mickey Hart is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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