BAKA BEYOND were formed in early 1993 when Martin recorded Spirit of the Forest in his bedroom studio. Their first concert was at the Pontardawe Festival later that year. They have been touring ever since, although the line-up has changed over the years.
Currently Baka Beyond perform as a six-piece band with the following members:
Guitar, mandolin, percussion and producer
Cornish father, Welsh mother, grew up in Kent, now lives in Bath. After
several years surviving by busking round the world and playing with many
musicians met on the way he pioneered World Music fusion in 1988 with
didgeridoo player Graham Wiggins in the band Outback. Founded Baka Beyond
after visiting the Baka Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Cameroon rainforest
in 1992 with his wife Su Hart. He regularly returns to Cameroon and stays
with the Baka in the rainforest to oversee charity projects and to get
further inspiration from playing plenty of music with them.
British, grew up in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, now lives in Bath. Grew
up singing in church and clubs singing many traditional Geordie songs.
Survived by busking, played in several bands and travelled extensively
song gathering before living with the Baka and learning from them. Apart
from singing in Baka Beyond she runs workshops for children and
adults about the singing and life of the Baka.
Ellie Jamison started singing and performing at the age of 9 in local venues in Oxford and London. Age 15 she learnt to play acoustic guitar, and started writing songs. She first joined Baka Beyond at the age of 18, touring and appearing on 'Sogo' and 'East to West'. She rejoined the Band in 2012 and its great to have her back. Ellie also ventures out on her own as a solo acoustic performer.
Percussion, djembe, sogo, ning nong, kongoma
Grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Came to UK as a theatre and dance
performer in 1987. He founded Kabudu dance company and has worked extensively
in UK in African Dance and education. Joined Baka Beyond in 1997 and is
influenced by the street culture of Freetown and the Mendi culture of
From Kinshasa, Congo, now lives in London.
Has toured across Africa, Europe and America with Zairian legend Kanda Bongo
Man. He joined Baka Beyond in 1995 adding an authentic Congolese root to the
music. He teaches Congolese "Rumba" style bass and has produced a tutorial DVD.
Clyde has been playing drums for as long as he can remember. In 2008 he went to Cameroon with Su & Martin and ended up staying with the Baka for a couple of months. Not sharing a common language with them he immersed himself in their music, jamming with them for hours on end. He therefore has picked up a very authentic "Baka" style.
The first time Kibi played with him he turned to martin with a look of surprise and said "the lad plays Makossa!".
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On larger tours Baka are joined by Celtic Breton fiddler Paddy Le Mercier (from France) with his unique wild violin style.
Paddy Le Mercier
Violin, whistles, bombarde
Originally from Brittany, the Celtic part of France. grew
up in Paris & now lives in Toulouse, France. Played on first album,
Spirit of the Forest, and has been with the band since the beginning.
Played with French Folk-Rock band, Malicorne as well as Outback and Baka
Beyond. Met Martin while they were both living in Oxford in the early
1980s and they have played together ever since.
below are some of the other musicians who have played with Baka Beyond and links to what they are now doing:
Seckou's mother is from the Cissokho family of griots from Mali but Seckou grew up in Ziguinchor, Casamance, in southern Senegal. Nephew to Solo Cissokho with whom he also regularly plays. Martin met him in Ziguinchor but it was not until he moved to UK in 1998 that he joined Baka Beyond. Although he was the percussionist with Baka Beyond he is also a skilled kora player, playing concerts worldwide with his band SKQ
Singer, dancer, Percussion
Dancer, singer and mbira player, Denise Rowe has roots in Jamaica and the UK where she grew up. Over the last ten years, Denise has studied dance in Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, the UK and with the Baka in the Cameroonian rainforest. As well as Baka Beyond, Denise performs with Sakoba Dance Theatre, Spirit Talk Mbira, Chimanimani and has her own dance company, Tolo Ko Tolo. Denise has seven years experience of leading traditional and contemporary pan African dance workshops around the world and has created a number of short films. She joined
Baka Beyond in 2000.
From UK, lives in Bristol. He joined Baka Beyond in 2000 at short notice
when their Senegalese drummer was refused a visa just before a national
tour.Before then he had already enjoyed a varied playing career with session
credits that include the Oscar-nominated animation,Welsh-language folk
music and TV drama.
He has recorded dozens of albums for many different artists and toured
extensively with, among others, cult favourites Stackridge and jam-band
pioneers Daily Planet.
Born in Accra, Ghana, into a royal family from whom he inherited his talent for drumming, dancing and singing. He came to Britain as a principal dancer and drummer in the Adzido dance company. Joined Baka Beyond in 1997. Runs a dance troupe Frititi
Neice of Fela Kuti and the original singer of the Dub Trance pioneers, Zion Train. Molara has been singing with Su in Baka-5 for the last year. Her amazing voice and stage presence pushes Baka Beyond into new realms. She joins Su and Denise in the "Extravaganza" shows.
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