One of the highest moments in Grateful Dead history came on September 16, 1978, in front of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, when a rhythm and percussion choir led by Mickey Hart’s friend Hamza El Din opened for the band’s second set by playing his song “Ollin Arageed.” As they sang and percussed, the moon went into eclipse. One by one, the band members drifted on to the stage and joined them, eventually going into “Fire on the Mountain.” It was pure magic.
Six years in the making, Is That So? is one of John McLaughlin’s deepest and most profound musical collaborations with prolific Indian composer and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan. Joining the duo is their life-long friend and musical brother Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla, who has been collaborating with McLaughlin since they founded Shakti in the early ‘70s, acknowledged by most to be the first groundbreaking crossover East-West musical group.
A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, Zakir Hussain is well-known for his constant explorations of music from around the world. His latest ensemble, CrossCurrents, attempts to portray all directions of inspiration between the idioms of jazz and Indian music. The great bassist Dave Holland, a player with one of the most distinguished careers in jazz, brings his singular vision to the group.
Few musicians completely transcend cultural barriers while keeping their craft authentic to their origins. One of the few percussionists to achieve this feat in the 20th century is tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Traditionally in Indian culture, one carries on their family’s craft. Zakir is son of iconic table master Alla Rakha, who frequently collaborated with Ravi Shankar. Both masters were pivotal in exposing the music of North India to the Americas.
Celebrated Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain's exciting announcement of a dual performance alongside sitarist virtuoso Niladri Kumar at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall was instantly an event not to be missed. The evening's exploratory possibilities have been further expanded with the exciting addition of percussionist and musicologist Mickey Hart as special guest.
The contemporary musical universe of Mickey Hart is perfectly aligned with the cosmos. Never has his theological approach to music or pursuit of combining music sensibilities across the globe been so relevant. From the beginnings he sought out further bounds than his primary project, the American rock institution, The Grateful Dead.