The original Afro-Celtic danceband inspired by the music of the rain forest.
After 20 years of mixing African and Celtic music in equal measures Baka Beyond has become one of the finest danceable bands around, creating the sound of the global village. Not just a touring band, Baka Beyond have a unique relationship with their inspiration – the Baka Pygmies of Cameroon – sending royalties to help their development projects, and even touring with Baka musicians.
Baka Beyond was conceived in 1992 by British musicians Martin Cradick after a 6 week visit to the Baka Forest People deep in the heart of the Cameroon rainforest. They were struck by the Baka's generosity of spirit and joy of life in hard circumstances which is reflected in their music. Martin and Su wanted to bring the spirit of this music back home so they recorded the album SPIRIT OF THE FOREST released under the name Baka Beyond which pushed them into worldwide recognition.
In order to make sure that the Baka get 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 with worldwide album sales. Band members have hailed from Brittany, Cameroon, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Congo, Uganda 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 is to be listened to".
The current touring unit are bringing the SPIRIT OF THE FOREST to festivals in UK and USA. Martin Cradick (guitar), Su Hart (vocals) and Clyde Kramer (drums) have all spent time living and playing music with the Baka Pygmies in their rainforest home. Ayodele Scott (percussion) brings the rhythms and color of his native Sierra Leone into the mix, while all these elements are grounded by the solid Congolese grooves of Kibisingo (bass). The lineup is completed by Ellie Jamison (vocals) who is returning to Baka Beyond after a bit of a break to bring 3 children safely into the world.
Baka Beyond Press Release November 2013
"If there has to be a definition of world music, this is it!" –Andy Kershaw
Baka Beyond - Update
After a successful tour of new material and an innovative multi-media show, Baka Beyond went straight on to providing the music for a unique version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest". "The Tempest on Fire" was conceived by David "Goffee" Eveleigh and performed in the maze that he designed and built at the Penpont Estate in Wales. Baka Beyond's interpretations of the Baka women's magical singing was perfect for setting the scene in this most mystic and musical of Shakespear's plays. Now this is over they are putting the finishing touches to their next album before Martin is off to Africa to help organise a tour for Baka Gbiné and Su is off to New Zealand to teach choirs there.
The new album, which will feature some familiar songs (to those who have seen Baka Beyond live), some new songs and some songs written for "The Tempest", will be available in Spring 2014 when they will also be performing some shows before the summer festival season starts. @ tracks are available now as a taster, both on iTunes and Bandcamp
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.
In 2014 Martin Cradick, guitarist and creator of Baka Beyond, will be 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 Ellie Jamison returned to Baka Beyond in 2012 after a long break. She will be joining Su on vocals and we're delighted to have her and her energy back. Completing the lineup is Kibisingo, Kanda Bongo Man's right-hand man for many years, but Baka Beyond's bass player for the last 8 years.
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.