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Album Review

With Rhythm Tree, Martin Cradick continues his unusual but frequently brilliant project of combining musical elements from Celtic Europe and from the Baka people of the Cameroon rainforest. His trips back and forth between Cameroon and the U.K. have resulted in musical collaborations that, on this album, vary in quality and interest from the pretty but quite overlong "Kobo" to the gorgeous and complex "Boulez Boulez," and from the title track, with its mouthbow, yodelling vocals and sturdy thumping beat, to the lovely Afro-Celt fusions that offer some of the most engaging moments on the album. These include a wonderful waulking song titled "Sad Among Strangers," buttressed here by whistle, guitar, and Baka percussion, and the lovely "Hush Hush," on which Paddy LeMercier's low violin snakes its way through a classical guitar and hand-drum accompaniment. It's the Baka singing that is the most arresting sound on the album, though — their voices sound like tootling whistles, and the melodies they sing are haunting and lovely. Very highly recommended.


Formed: 1992

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Baka Beyond reflects the multicultural vision of ex-Outback guitar, mandolin and bouzouki player Martin Cradick and his wife, Su Hart. A fusion of Celtic and West African musical traditions, the band represents a collaboration of musicians from northern Europe and West Africa. Cradick and Hart conceived Baka Beyond shortly after the breakup of Outback in 1992. Traveling to the rain forest of Cameroon, the couple lived with Baka pygmies and recorded their music. A field recording, Heart of the Forest:...
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Rhythm Tree, Baka Beyond
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