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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Baka Beyond & Baka Gbine

By Matt Scheiner
Published January 14, 2008

Baka Live
March Hare Music

Baka Beyond got started when Europeans Martin Cradick and Su Hart traveled to the Cameroonian rainforest to capture the music of the semi-nomadic Baka people—hunter-gatherers who worship a forest spirit and incorporate music into their daily lives. After the successful release of Spirit Of The Forest, which captured the beauty of Baka melodies, Baka Beyond was formed to meld Baka music with traditional and contemporary sounds from Africa and Europe. This live recording, from a 2006 UK tour, features seven Baka people performing for the first time outside the rainforest. Pre-recorded insect sounds enhance the performance and provide a feeling of being under the African canopy. Tribal cries celebrating life, the hunt and the spirit pervade the session as syncopated guitars provide an element of the tropics on “Kobo,” “Rendezvous” and “Boulez Boulez.” The recording offers an overwhelming spirituality that has the power to survive far beyond the forest.