Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart is an American percussionist and musicologist. He is best known as one of the two drummers of the rock band Grateful Dead, he was a member of the Grateful Dead from September 1967 until February 1971, again from October 1974 until their final show in August 1995. He and fellow Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann earned the nickname "the rhythm devils". Michael Steven Hartman was born in Flatbush neighborhood of New York, he was raised in suburban Inwood, New York by his mother, Leah, a drummer, gown maker and bookkeeper. His father, a champion rudimental drummer Lenny Hart, had abandoned his family when the younger Hart was a toddler. Although Hart became interested in percussion as a grade school student, his interest intensified after seeing his father's picture in a newsreel documenting the 1939 World's Fair. Shortly thereafter, he discovered a practice pad and a pair of snakewood sticks that belonged to his father. "From the age of ten," he recalled, "all I did was drum."He attended Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, New York.

Hart would recall that many champion rudimental drummers attended his high school. While employed as a soda jerk at El Patio, a jazz club in Atlantic Beach, New York, he was influenced by Tito Puente's regular appearances. A few months out of high school, he discovered the work of Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji, another formative influence. Olatunji taught and collaborated with Hart. Hart dropped out of high school as a senior. Impressed by its musical pedigree, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1961, he served as a drummer in The Airmen of Note, an elite big band unit in the United States Air Force Band modeled after Glenn Miller's celebrated Army Air Forces Band. For three and a half years, he was stationed throughout Europe, where he claimed to have taught "combative measures" to units of the Strategic Air Command and other units in Europe and Africa. During a tour in Spain, he sat in with a variety of notable jazz musicians in addition to performing in various ensembles and on recording sessions for local pop stars.

Hart would intimate in a 1972 interview that his Airmen of Note assignment served as a "cover" for his instructive duties. While in the Air Force, he co-founded Joe and the Jaguars with a fellow serviceman, guitarist Joe Bennett. Following his 1965 discharge, Hart returned to the New York metropolitan area, where he filled in for the regular drummer in a "staid fox-trot band" as a member of the local musician's union. While stationed in southern California, he had discovered that his father was still involved in the drumming community as an endorser for Remo. Founder Remo Belli facilitated an introduction before Hart was reassigned to Spain, but the elder Hart soon disappeared. A post-discharge reconciliation attempt proved to be more successful. Shortly thereafter and son established the Hart Music Center in San Carlos, California. In late 1965 or early 1966, Hart performed in an early iteration of William Penn and His Pals prior to Gregg Rolie's membership and the recording of the garage rock classic "Swami."

In 1966, Hart and Bennett resumed their collaboration before the latter reenlisted for a tour of duty in Vietnam. By the end of the year, he had moved in with Michael Hinton, a student and friend who would accompany him to a fateful Count Basie Orchestra performance at The Fillmore in mid-1967. At the concert, Hart fulfilled Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann's request to meet Basie Orchestra drummer Sonny Payne, leading to an informal tutorial between Hart and Kreutzmann and thence his eventual introduction to the Grateful Dead. Hart joined the Grateful Dead in September 1967, his interests in polyrhythmic rudiments and exotic percussion were integral to the band's arrangements in the period that archivist Dick Latvala would subsequently characterize as the "primal Dead era" of 1968-1969. However, he left by mutual agreement in February 1971, extricating himself after his father embezzled $70,000 from the band. In his 2015 memoir, Kreutzmann divulged that Hart's use of heroin and other "dark drugs" had accelerated in the wake of the embezzlement and impacted his contributions to the group contributing to his departure: "Mickey wasn't able to play at the level he was capable of and it was beginning to affect our performances.

He was getting spacey and just getting so far out there that he wasn't able to deliver the music. It became impossible, it wasn't out of anger or meanness. So our brother Mickey left the band and retreated to his ranch in Novato and it strained our relationship for a while, sad to say."During his sabbatical, he released the album Rolling Thunder in 1972. Two additional solo albums were completed but rejected by Warner Brothers due to the label's strained relationship with the Grateful Dead. Hart's home recording studio proved to be a haven for

Ramtha's School of Enlightenment

Ramtha's School of Enlightenment is an American spiritual sect near the rural town of Yelm, Washington, U. S; the school was established in 1988 by J. Z. Knight, who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old being called Ramtha the Enlightened One; the school's teachings are based on these channeling sessions. In 1988, J. Z. Knight founded Ramtha's School of Enlightenment called Ramtha's School of Enlightenment: The American Gnostic School, on her 80-acre estate in Yelm, Washington. A division of Knight's company JZK, Inc. the school had around 80 staff members as of 2014. According to RSE's website, it is an "academy of the mind that offers retreats and workshops to people of all ages and cultures". RSE's private, fenced compounds are only open to staff students, not to the public. In 2004, various Ramtha school leaders joined community groups to oppose a proposed 75,000-seat NASCAR racetrack in Yelm; the proposal was withdrawn. In 2007, Knight's profits from the school's activities and from sale of books, tapes, CDs and DVDs had been around $2.6 million.

In 2008, lessons were given to the public in more than 20 countries, including the Czech Republic and Chile for the first time. The school teaches that human beings have the capacity to utilize their inner wisdom, focus their brains, create their own reality; the school's curriculum is based on the channelings by Knight of the entity Ramtha. Although the school has been criticised for being a cult and her followers deny such claims and say that the school is neither a religion nor a cult. Ramtha's School of Enlightenment teachings have been described as part of the New Age movement. A controversial religious scholar, J. Gordon Melton, wrote a book countering this argument called Finding Enlightenment: Ramtha's School of Ancient Wisdom. Lessons in the school's compounds sometimes include wine drinking, tobacco pipe smoking and dancing to rock ’n’ roll music, it is being taught that the nitric oxide in red wine found in pipe tobacco, can help to facilitate changes in the brain as a part of the process in which to achieve these means.

Through various focus techniques, the students believe they are on their way to becoming as "enlightened" as other shamans who can alter their personal reality at will. The main activities towards that goal vary from specific focusing, meditation-like techniques, breathing techniques, blindfolded archery, energy healing, finding the heart of a maze, many more; the students are taught that human beings can train themselves into such powers that will allow them to levitate, raise the dead, make gold appear in their hand and predict the future. This may lead to the "ascension" of the physical body into the "light body". Other skills obtained by attending the lessons include psychokinesis, telepathy and other ESP skills, which have been criticized by various skeptics around the world; the dialogues, a lot of transcripts from Knight's Ramtha talks, have been compiled and published over the course of many years. Videotapes of various dialogue sessions have been released. While some major themes in the school's teachings are covered in these publications, more in-depth and systematic presentation of its philosophies and teachings is only accessible by attending a retreat in person.

In February 1997, Knight hosted a conference of scholars, studying her, the students and the school for the previous year. During their research phase, they observed Knight's Ramtha sessions and measured various physiological functions of her body; the researchers examined Ramtha’s teachings and the school's practices from a variety of perspectives, including physics, feminism and religion. Melton organized the research. In addition to the conference presenters, Knight invited the media to attend. However, Knight said she did not sponsor the conference to gain publicity or to convince her skeptics. Knight paid the travel expenses and stipends for the conference presenters, which caused some of Knight’s critics to suggest she had influenced their research; the researchers denied this contention to the press and, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "were offended by a suggestion that the New Age spiritualist could have tried to buy their support". Apart from the conference proceedings, two papers were published.

In 1998, Stanley Krippner published a paper on the psychological and geomagnetic results of the various studies. In 2009, Joan Hageman published a paper examining the results of the physiological testing on Knight and six students. Ramtha's School of Enlightenment has been called a cult by various people, including her former husband Jeff Knight, former personal bodyguard Glen Cunningham, former students of the school, skeptic Michael Shermer. Melton's book, which denies the school's status as a cult, has been criticized for siding with the school and not providing a neutral description of what is going on within the school, he has been called a "cult apologist" by various opposers of cults. His position was further criticized when he took the stand as a witness in the case of Knight v. Knight against Jeff Knight, by further supporting that the school is not a cult. Former students of the school have accused the RSE of practicing brain-washing and mind-control, as well as using intimidation and fear techniques to keep students in the school.

David McCarthy, a student of the RSE between 1989 and 1996, calls Knight a "spiritual predator", he mentions various parts of the teachings which had an intimidative character

John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 40 albums since the 1970s. He is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, is proficient on many other instruments including guitar, autoharp, mountain dulcimer and jawharp, he has received six Grammy Award nominations. McCutcheon was born to Roman Catholic parents in Wisconsin, he graduated from Newman Catholic High School. He is a graduate of Saint John's University in Minnesota. While in his 20s, he travelled to Appalachia and learned from some of the legendary greats of traditional folk music, such as Roscoe Holcomb, I. D. Stamper, Tommy Hunter, his vast repertoire includes songs from contemporary writers like Si Kahn as well as a large body of his own music. When McCutcheon became a father in the early 1980s he found most children's music "unmusical and condescending", sought to change the situation by releasing a children's album, Howjadoo, in 1983, he had only intended to do one children's record, but the popularity of this first effort led to the production of seven additional children's albums.

He has written three books for children. Much of his work, continues to focus on writing politically and conscious songs for adult audiences. One of his most successful songs, "Christmas in the Trenches", tells the story of the Christmas truce of 1914. In his performances, McCutcheon introduces his music with a story, he has become known as a storyteller, has made multiple appearances at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He is married to Carmen Agra Deedy. McCutcheon's music has, since the 1990s evolved into heartland rock-influenced ballads, while he still performs purer folk music when playing the dulcimer. In 2011 McCutcheon portrayed IWW organizer and songwriter Joe Hill in Si Kahn's one-man play Joe Hill's Last Will, produced by Main Stage West in Sebastopol, California. How Can I Keep from Singing? The Wind That Shakes the Barley * From Earth To Heaven Barefoot Boy with Boots On Fine Times at Our House Howjadoo Winter Solstice Signs of the Times Step By Step: Hammer Dulcimer Duets and Quartets Gonna Rise Again Mail Myself to You Water from Another Time: A Retrospective What It's Like Live at Wolf Trap Family Garden Between the Eclipse Summersongs Wintersongs Nothing to Lose Sprout Wings and Fly Bigger Than Yourself Doing Our Job Autumnsongs Springsongs Storied Ground Supper's on the Table The Greatest Story Never Told Hail to the Chief Hammer Dulcimer Repertoire Stand Up!

Broadsides for Our Time Welcome the Traveler Home: The Winfield Songs Mightier Than the Sword This Fire The Hammer Dulcimer Sermon on the Mound Untold Passage This Land: Woody Guthrie's America 22 Days Joe Hill's Last Will Trolling for Dreams Ghost Light To Everyone in All the World: A Celebration of Pete Seeger Happy Adoption Day Christmas in the Trenches Flowers for Sarajevo John McCutcheon has received six Grammy nominations. The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. John McCutcheon official site "Making waves making music - 2004 article in local paper Audio/Video John McCutcheon is the only guest on Woodsongs show 471