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Diga Rhythm Band

Initial release : March 1976

Round Records RX 110 / RX-LA600-G

Percussion based album from Mickey Hart and friends. Garcia plays guitar on two tracks.

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  • Sweet Sixteen (Diga Rhythm Band)
  • Magnificent Sevens (Diga Rhythm Band)
  • Happiness Is Drumming (Diga Rhythm Band)
  • Razooli (Diga Rhythm Band)
  • Tal Mala (Diga Rhythm Band)

Diga Rhythm Band;

  • Jordan Amarantha - congas, bongos
  • Peter Carmichael - tabla
  • Aushim Chaudhuri - tabla
  • Vince Delgado - dumbek, tabla, talking drum
  • Tor Dietrichson - tabla
  • Mickey Hart - traps, gongs, timbales, tympani
  • Zakir Hussain - tabla, folk drums, tar
  • Jim Loveless - marimbas
  • Joy Shulman - tabla
  • Ray Spiegel - vibes
  • Arshad Syed - duggi tarang, nal
  • Jerry Garcia - guitar (on Razooli and Happiness Is Drumming)
  • Jim McPherson - vocals (on Razooli)
  • Kathy McDonald - vocals (on Razooli)
  • David Freiberg - vocals (on Razooli)

  • Produced by Mickey Hart
  • Associate producer - Vince Delgado
  • Production assistant and arranging associate - Zakir Hussain
  • Engineers - Dan Healy, Bill Wolf, Betty Cantor
  • Assistant engineer - Brett Cohen
  • Recorded at the Barn, Novato
  • Remixed in 1988 :
  • Engineer (1988) - Tom Flye
  • Assistant engineer (1988) - Tom Size
  • Digital mastering (1988) - Joe Glaswirt
  • Cover art - Jordan De La Sierra
  • Package design - Steven Jurgensmeyer
  • Photograph - Onehart
  • Liner notes - Frederic Lieberman

The album notes include a dedication;

This album is dedicated to our friend and teacher Ustad Alla Rakha, and to all drummers everywhere.
Happiness Is Drumming developed into Fire On The Mountain.

The two catalogue numbers indicate that this was released after Round Records abandoned some of their independence and signed a distribution deal with United Artists at the end of 1975. The Dead retained rights to their recordings and, as with earlier Round recordings, they subsequently became available through Grateful Dead Merchandising.

The Winter 1976 Round Records newsletter provided a history of the Diga Rhythm Band.

In 1968 Mickey Hart was studying at the Ali Akbar College of Music with Tabla Master Shankar Gosh. Mickey would work on compositions with Shankar which included Rhythmic Cycles of 4, 6, 16, 5 & 7 and take these teachings to Bill Kreutzmann. Mickey and Bill were instructing Shankar on traps in exchange for Tabla lessons and would combine their knowledge in compositions of East and West.

In September of 1968 the Grateful Dead played a concert at Berkeley Community Theater. Before the concert the drummers had planned a surprise for the audience. During part of "Alligator", the G. D. amps rolled apart and two risers rolled on stage between Mickey and Bill. On them were Shankar Gosh and Vince Delgado, a fine dumbec player and a student of Shankar's. The four men sat and fixed compositions together, taking a rhythmic journey through many "Tals" or time cycles. Ali Akbar Kahn composed the closing composition for them and when they were finished, the applause was deafening. Shankar left Ali Akbar College in 1969 and returned to India, at this time Mickey also left to pursue electronic music.

In 1970 Mickey was introduced to Zakir Hussain, son of Mickey's mentor, Alla Rakha. Mickey met Alla Rakha in 1967 and had given himself over to the teachings of Indian rhythms during their first meeting. He subsequently became Shankar's student in California. Zakir had come from India to replace Shankar as Ali Akbar's personal drummer as Tabla instructor for the school. Quite a job for a man of 21, but Zakir had been studying since 8 years of age, he came well prepared.

In 1971 Zakir began to select some of his advance students for a school orchestra of only rhythm instruments. This was called Tal Vadyum Rhythm Band and they performed once a quarter at the Ali Akbar Kahn Collect of Music. This was the beginning of the Diga Band. In April, 1975 the Jefferson Starship asked them to play a concert with them and the Sons of Champlin. The band decided to play and also to change their name for public performance. The name chosen was Diga Rhythm Band. The concerts at Winterland in San Francisco on May 16 & 17, 1975 were successful, Alla Rakha was there both nights and was very pleased. Bill Graham was elated and the musicians from the other groups were very receptive to the music.

Diga is currently recording an album for Round Records, to be distributed by United Artists, in April. The band also plans to tour maybe in the Spring of '76.


  • Issued in the UK in March 1976 by United Artists UAG 29975
  • Reissued on LP (black and clear vinyl) in 1988 by Rykodisk RALP 10101
  • Reissued on CD in 1990 by Rykodisk RCD 10101
Related releases

One single was released in conjunction with this album;

Razooli and Sweet Sixteen were included on;
  • For Dead Heads, Various Artists, 1976, Round Records / United Artists, FREE 2 (UK produced sampler LP)
Tal Mala was included on a promotional sampler;
  • Up Close Volume 5: The World Sampler, Various Artists, Rykodisc/Boston Acoustics RCD PRO 9006
Sweet Sixteen was included on the following samplers and compilations; Happiness Is Drumming was included on the compilation;