Mickey Hart and Fredric Lieberman on Recording Music To be Born By

With the recent news of Jay-Z and Beyonce's newborn daughter "Blue Ivy" grabbing the record for the youngest person to enter the Billboard charts on her Dad's new single "Glory", Mickey Hart reflects on his son Taro who holds the record for the youngest recording artist, 6 months in utero, on his father's album "Music To Be Born By [1989]", which was just re-released by Smithsonian Folkways as part of "The Mickey Hart Collection". "The birthing process, one of life's great mysteries, triggered a musical response in me. The sound from the fetal monitor included among a host of gurglings and bodily noises, the emerging heartbeat of my unborn son Taro. It was the sound of new life, and a startling rhythmic event—the inner orchestra of emerging life, the rhythm world of the body at its most essential. It compelled me to entrain with it, to create new, complementary rhythms. As a father, the repetitive pulsing became symphonic in my mind; it drove me into the studio to create a new composition incorporating my son's living, developing, hopeful, amazing, unconscious, primordial music: Music To Be Born By."

This soothing, 70-minute soundscape was intended to transform the coldness of a hospital birthing room into a warm, rhythmic environment for the process of labor and birthing. However, after requests by several friends to use the album for their own birthing processes, Hart decided to release the recording for the general public. The music consists of Taro's heartbeat (recorded in utero) overdubbed with bass harmonics (provided by Bobby Vega), drums, and wooden shakuhachi flute (played by Steve Douglas). Music to be Born By was issued in 1989 as part of "THE WORLD" series and re-released as part of the Mickey Hart Collection made available by Smithsonian Folkways.