After more than 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 and Su Hart 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 honouring 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 colour 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 (You can hear her on the Baka Beyond albums “Sogo” and “East to West”).
“. . . if you are not dancing, maybe you should have someone check your pulse.”
“The party atmosphere was irrepressible” Evening Standard
“A guaranteed good night out” Bristol Rocks
This is the band of Baka musicians that Martin recorded in their rainforest home to produce the album Gati Bongo. Their music was the original inspiration for Baka Beyond and Martin Cradick recently toured in Cameroon with them as they returned home from their performance at the Under the Volcano Festival.
In February 2012 Martin Cradick recorded a new album, Kopolo with the Baka musicians on the Cameroon/Congo border. It is a follow up to the successful “Gati Bongo” album. Listen to it HERE
In 2006 7 Baka musicians from Baka Gbiné came to tour with Baka Beyond in UK. This was captured in the live CD “Baka Live”