Smithsonian Folkways Recordings announced that they are going to release the world music recordings known as the ‘Mickey Hart Collection.’ The plan is to preserve and further the Grateful Dead percussionist’s endeavor to cross borders and expand musical horizons. Smithsonian Folkways will make many of Mickey Hart’s music projects available digitally (stream and download) for the first time while keeping physical versions in print as on-demand CDs.
The Mickey Hart Collection begins with 25 albums drawn from ‘The World,’ a series Hart curated that incorporated his solo projects, other artists’ productions, and re-releases of out-of-print titles. Six of the twenty-five albums form the “Endangered Music Project,” a collaboration between Mickey Hart and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which presents recordings from musical traditions at risk. Both ‘The World’ and ‘The Endangered Music Project’ were previously distributed by Rykodisc from 1988 to 2002.
‘The Mickey Hart Collection’ offers a wide variety of music from virtually every corner of the globe, recorded in a diverse range of locations from the Nubian Desert to the Papua New Guinea rainforest.
“Music is our talking book, our portal to the spirit world. I hope you will enjoy these audio snapshots of my musical journey,” Hart says. “It’s an honor to have my recordings at Smithsonian Folkways alongside the greatest songcatchers of our time.”
Hart co-produced The Endangered Music Project with Alan Jabbour, former Director of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. Mickey Hart served for twelve years on the American Folklife Center (AFC) Board of Trustees and helped to establish the “Save Our Sounds” project, a collaboration between the AFC and the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
Hart has also co-written four books documenting his lifelong fascination with the history and mythology of music. These include Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Planet Drum, Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music and Songcatchers: In Search of the World’s Music. He also served on the Smithsonian Folkways advisory board in the late 1980s, where he was instrumental in shaping digitization strategy for the Moses and Frances Asch Folkways Records Collection and served as technical director for The Original Vision, the initial Smithsonian Folkways reissue of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly recordings. He also digitally remastered the Smithsonian Folkways album Hawaiian Drum Dance Chants and, with Thomas Vennum, Jr., supervised sound duplication for the album Navajo Songs.
On October 11, digital downloads and on-demand CDs can be purchased directly from Smithsonian Folkways at folkways.si.edu/. Full-album purchases include complete, original liner notes as .PDF files. Additional materials will be added to The Mickey Hart Collection in the future.