Mickey Hart, the former drummer for the legendary Grateful Dead, will become the first member of the celebrated San Francisco rock icons to perform in Israel when he brings his world music band to Jerusalem on August 22.

The performance at the Mount Scopus Amphitheater of Hebrew University will take place as part of the four-day Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival (August 20 – 23), the anchor of this summer’s Jerusalem Season of Culture.

The festival will also feature Afropop singer Salif Keita, Malian duo Amadout & Mariam and Israel’s own Tractor’s Revenge performing at locations which according to the organizers are “filled with spiritual and religious meaning,” including the Tower of David Museum, Tzidkiyahu’s Cave and the YMCA.

Hart, along with fellow Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, were affectionately known throughout their four decades of playing together as the Rhythm Devils, due to their extensive use of polyrhythms and exotic percussion instruments during their nightly drum duels.

In addition to collecting and playing percussion instruments from around the world, Hart has written books on the subject and is considered to be an authoritative percussion anthropologist.

After the Dead disbanded following guitarist Jerry Garcia’s death, Hart has followed an eclectic path, from occasionally teaming up with his old bandmates, to curating the Endangered Music Project with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, to recording the 2007 Grammy winning Global Drum Project album. In 2011, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released the 25-album Mickey Hart Collection aimed at Hart’s endeavor to cross borders and expand musical horizons.

Performing everything from Dead classics to African tribal chants, the Mickey Hart Band consists of Grammy winning percussionist and longtime band mate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, singer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale, drummer Greg Schutte, guitarist Gawain Matthews, bassist Adam Theis, and keyboardist/sound engineer Jonah Sharp.

Their 2012 debut album, Mysterium Tremendum, which includes collaborations with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, was described by Hart on his website as combining “sonic images of the formation of our universe with sounds drawn from musical instruments.”

The closest Hart, the Dead’s only Jewish member, has come to performing in the region was in 1978 when the group traveled to the pyramids in Egypt for two historic shows.

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