Baka Beyond Press Release 2009
"If there has to be a definition of world music, this is it!" Andy Kershaw
Baka Beyond Live
After 16 years of mixing African and Celtic music in equal measures Baka Beyond have become one of the finest danceable bands, creating the sound of the global village.
As their latest album "Beyond the Forest" is about to be released, Baka Beyond return to USA for a series of concerts. Su Hart, brought up on Northumbrian folk songs and initiated into the Baka women's sacred singing in the Cameroon rainforest, is joined on vocals by Denise Rowe who also brings her fiery African dance to the show. Ghanaian percussionist, Nii Tagoe provides the rhythm section with Congolese bass player Kibisingo (of Kanda Bongo Man) and stickman Tim Robinson. Paddy Le Mercier's passionate fiddle playing sours over the rhythms bringing a celtic edge to the African beats. Martin Cradick's hypnotic guitar, described as sounding like Jerry Garcia after taking a long trip in West Africa, ties the elements together.
Not just a touring band, Baka Beyond have a unique relationship with their inspiration - the Baka Forest People who live in the rainforests on the Cameroon/ Congo border and with whom Baka Beyond still keep in regular contact - sending royalties to help their development projects, and even touring with Baka musicians.
Baka Beyond was founded in 1992 after British musicians Martin Cradick and Su Hart had visited the Baka Pygmies of the Cameroon rainforests after seeing a TV documentary. So inspired were they by their magical rhythms and melodies that they recorded an album "Spirit of the Forest" under the name Baka Beyond which pushed them into worldwide recognition. In order to make sure that the Baka got their fair return for their compositions they also founded the charity, "Global Music Exchange". So started this very positive African - European collaboration.
Since these early beginnings when the term "world music" barely existed, Baka Beyond has evolved into a multicultural, dynamic live stage show and album sales top a quarter of a million copies. Band members hail from Brittany, Cameroon, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ghana as well as Britain. Each musician brings their own influence and talent to the music creating a unique spectacle and honoring a lesson learned from the Baka people, "everyone to be listened to".
Baka Beyond's years of touring has paid off. The energy of their thoroughly uplifting and seamless blend of African rhythm and Celtic melody defies anybody to sit still. In the summer of 2007 they headlined Edmonton Folk Festival and wowed the 15,000 strong crowd, most of whom were new to the magic of Baka Beyond. You can see a clip of this performance HERE.
The line up in USA this fall will be:
Martin Cradick(UK): guitar
Su Hart (UK): vocals
Denise Rowe (UK): vocals
Nii Tagoe (Ghana): percussion
Kibisingo Douglas (Congo): bass
Paddy Le Mercier (France): violin, whistle, bombarde
Tim Robinson (UK): drums
". . . if you are not dancing, maybe you should have someone check your pulse."
the band - baka beyond history - promo video - listen to recent gig
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