Baka Beyond Press Release 2012 * * * * * *
"If there has to be a definition of world music, this is it!" Andy Kershaw
Since the release of the groundbreaking "Spirit of the Forest" in 1993 Baka Beyond has evolved and morphed several times and has played all over the world. From Brazil to Alaska, Norway to Spain, audiences have been enthralled by haunting Celtic harmony singing, drawn into the Cameroon rainforest by traditional forest singing (Yelli), and danced their socks off to irresistible African rhythms.
Martin Cradick, guitarist and creator of Baka Beyond, has recently returned from recording a new Baka Gbiné album in the rainforests on the Cameroon/Congo border. This is a follow up to the successful "Gati Bongo" album released in 2006 by the Baka musicians who originally inspired Baka Beyond. Back in UK it has been mixed and mastered and some of the tracks can be seen being recorded on Baka Beyond's YouTube Channel.
Baka Beyond are back together preparing for summer festivals both in UK and in USA. Martin is joined by Su Hart (vocals) and Clyde Kramer (drums) both of whom have spent time living and playing music with the Baka Pygmies in their rainforest home. Ayodele Scott (percussion) brings the rhythms and colour of Sierra Leone into the mix and Kibisingo (bass) adds the pulse of the bass from the heart of the Congo. Ellie Jamison has returned to Baka Beyond after a long break. Her kids are old enough to let her tour again, so we're delighted to have her and her energy back.
Over the years Baka Beyond has headlined many festivals such as Edmonton in Canada to 20,000 people, but they still love the intimacy of playing theatres and Art Centres. They have played one of the world's biggest music festivals, Glastonbury, a total of 16 times! Every gig has a sense of fun that turns a concert into an uplifting, inclusive party.
Baka Beyond believes in giving back to the source of their inspiration, they call it "cultural fair trade". Royalties are returned through the charity Global Music Exchange either directly to individual musicians, or for sustainable projects decided within the Baka community. A large performance space has been built, as well as work in health and education. With the forest and therefore their lifestyle under threat, it helps that the Baka's music and culture is appreciated worldwide.
The Baka have initiated Su and Martin into their music and have asked that they spread their culture beyond the forest. Su (a trained teacher) has worked in schools at all levels, with choirs, in the community, at festivals and in prisons. They also run Baka culture camps together and teach at university level. Workshops and showing of Martins forest films often run alongside gigs. In July 2011 Martin & Su taught at the world famous Hollyhock retreat in BC, Canada. More information at www.bakacamp.com
See www.bakabeyond.com and www.1heart.org for more
". . . if you are not dancing, maybe you should have someone check your pulse."
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