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Lawrence Bush
September 3, 2017
Percussionist Mickey Hart (Michael Steven Hartman) joined the Grateful Dead as one of the band’s two drummers (the other was Bill Kreutzmann) on this date in 1967. He left the Dead in 1971 and then returned in 1974, remaining with the band until they dissolved in 1995, following guitarist Jerry Garcia’s early death. Hart is an expert in world music and ethnomusicology who has produced several books as well as the Grammy Award-winning album, Planet Drum. In 2010, he debuted “Rhythms of the Universe,” a composition based on astrophysical data. It will be part of a musical history of the universe that reflects such phenomena as the Big Bang, quasars, and supernovae through rhythm and sound. Hart is active with the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress’ National Recorded Sound Preservation Board. You can see a 2015 interview with Mickey about this project here. “Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are.” —Mickey Hart Watch a 2009 interview with Mickey Hart and the members of the Global Drum Project for NatGeoMusic:

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.