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on January 10, 2001
At a glance, Drumming at the Edge of Magic may seem like an autobiogrphical journey by the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart. While the book is autobiographical, it goes far beyond that to discover the real meaning of drumming and music in general.
The meaning of drumming (or life?) comes in many forms, and many disguises. As Hart begins to unluck the secrets to why humans desire to express themselves in music, one can't help but say, "YES!". Hart, and to a certain extent, Jay Stevens, put into words what drummers and other musicians have felt all along but have never known how to express. The journey ends up being a look inward; not just for Hart but for the reader as well.
After reading this, I had my wife and father read it. I explained, "This is how I feel about drumming."
The companion CD and sequel book, "Planet Drum," are nice additions but the book stands by its self as an outstanding source for understanding music at its most basic form.
This book will move you.
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on December 17, 1999
When I decided to take up hand percussion, I sought out this work out of respect for the authors' musicianship, and his ongoing projects with the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress. This book led me quickly past the idea of playing drums, and into areas which effect us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. I've read it twice, and will read it again--and again until I REALLY understand it all. If World Music interests you, if you are a drummer, or if you are seeking inner peace, this book belongs in your hands.
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on July 7, 2000
I'd lost interest in playing for about 5 years before I read this book, but Mickey Hart's book brought me back to the reasons I started hitting the bottom of tin cans woth a wooden spoon! This book follows, to a degree, the history of drums, and studies the emotional, spiritual and physical effects of drums, old ancient, and new on people. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to play for any or no reason, and to andone who can't explain why the music makes them dance.
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on December 11, 1998
This is a truly incredible novel written with a definite joie de vivre. Most of the book deals with Mickey Hart's (former Grateful Dead drummer) journey towards an understanding of ethnic drumming. Filled with fascinating stories, like the Tibetan "power" drums that are made from human skulls, the book also incorporates stories from Hart's life, like how one of these same drums almost killed him, and eventually changed his life. Half biography, half ethnology, it's all written with incredible ease and fluidity. A definite must-read for any ethnic music lovers.
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on June 24, 2000
Drumming At The Edge of Magic is a truly inspirational book for all people interested in drumming and rhythms. It details Harts cathartic exploration and eases the modern drummer into other-worldly potentials.
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on May 23, 1999
A wonderful peek at a quest for understanding the role the drum has had on our developement as a species. A tall order and you might not get all the answers, but the passionate tale of the hunt is first rate!
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on April 12, 1999
A fascinating musical journey and also a must for those who are into ethnic / world music. Now occupies a space on my shelf beside "World Music: The Rough Guide" and "The Brazilian Sound."
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on May 19, 2002
I am not a Deadhead, nor am I a drummer, but I have really admired this book, and Mickey Hart big time. He really went off the deep end of his knowledge of percussion, both conventional, and exotic. I had not had this book with me since 1995, so my mind is a bit foggy, but if I remember right, the book is also a trip down Memory Lane, speaking of the hippie days of the Haight-Ashbury, The Grateful Dead and the whole scene in general. One of my favorites was of a drum he got in Tibet made from human skulls. He was wondering why he felt like he was being cursed, and he was told that he was using the drums wrong and it was used to wake the dead. He decided to return the drums and get a similar one not made of skulls. Drumming at the Edge of Magic was also a tie-in to what was then Mickey Hart's latest CD called At the Edge. This book really makes me wished I was there with the hippies and the Deadheads, even if I, myself don't listen to the Dead. It's too bad the Dead isn't around anymore thanks to Jerry Garcia's untimely death. Whether you're a Deadhead or not, whether you're a percussionist or not, this is truly an enthusiastic and well-written book on the subject of percussion.
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on February 15, 2014
This book is a must-read for every drummer, musician or person interested in what moves the spirit and how that impacts life.
It was researched and written beautifully, with so much information and history regarding drums; their power, purpose and placement throughout time. I highly recommend this book!
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on March 12, 2013
Loved the adventure of finding the edge of drumming as music and drumming as spirit. I place this a a good read! Not transforming but thoughtful.
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