Renowned drummer Giovanni Hidalgo of world music supergroup Planet Drum has a new release In The Groove. It comes out August 5 and is their first album in fifteen years, following Planet Drum (1991) and Global Drum Project (2007), both of which received Grammys in the World Music category. Only in the cosmic universe of Mickey Hart (USA),  Zakir Hussain (India), Giovanni Hidalgo (Puerto Rico) and Sikiru Adepoju (Nigeria) does Planet Drum fulfill one of Mickey’s greatest achievements: “Rhythmic unity among all cultures.”

Featured member Giovanni Hidalgo is the son of a renowned drummer, the conguero “Mañengue.”  Raised in Puerto Rico, he played with Batacumbele and traveled to Cuba, where he and Jose Luis Quintana, “Changuito,” created rhythms which defined the next wave of Latin music.  By 1985 he was working with Eddie Palmieri at the Village Gate, where Dizzy Gillespie heard him and invited him to join Dizzy’s United Nation Orchestra.  In the ‘90s, he taught at Berklee College of Music. Since joining Planet Drum in 1990, Giovanni has also worked with a wide range of musicians, from Art Blakey to Don Byron to Sammy Hagar and Paul Simon.

Hidalgo has bravely battled diabetes;  it prevented him from working for nearly two years and has resulted in amputations of his fingers, his keys to his beloved congas. He had to overcome the pain and disability to reinvent his playing, creating a new stick and technique. 

Hidalgo will be in the US for two performances with Planet Drum, on August 5th & 6th at the Capitol Theatre as well.