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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

BAKA BEYOND

By PAUL-ÉMILE COMEAU
Published April 7, 2006

East To West
Narada World

Martin Cradick and his wife Su Hart have set high standards not only with regard to creating global fusion music but also for treating indigenous musicians and collaborators fairly. East To West is the group’s fifth album and its first release in five years. It’s quite remarkable that such a disparate group, one that includes musicians from half a dozen different countries, can come up with such exquisitely beautiful music. “Awaya Baka,” the first track, features a chorus sung by children in the forest. “An Gwirder” mixes African percussion with Irish reels in a way that is both highly rhythmic and lyrical. The African flavor is downplayed on “Ra-Li-O,” a Gaelic song that’s popular in Scotland and Cape Breton, here sung by Su Hart. “Wandering Spirit,” which features some unusual and mesmerizing vocal effects, is based on a Baka dance but the group meshes it with a couple of Irish slipjigs. “A Thousand Curses On Love,” a waulking song, and “Rakish Paddy,” the well-known Irish reel, are given similar treatment. As an effort at Celtic-African fusion music, East To West is a seamless and exemplary work.