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East to West

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 11, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Marrying traditional Celtic melodies and instruments with West African traditional rhythms and modern musical stylings like Highlife and Afro-pop may not seem like the most natural idea. But in the hands of Baka Beyond--a group that takes the term world fusion seriously, as it's roughly split between Celtic and West African musicians--the combination makes for a delicious musical stew that goes down smoothly. It's been five years since the group's last album, and longtime fans who discovered the band through its hugely successful Spirit of the Forest release in 1994 won't be disappointed. East to West is probably the group's most accomplished work to date.

Founded by English guitarist Martin Cradick and singer Su Hart, who lived with the Baka pygmies in the rainforest along the Cameroon-Congo border in 1991, Baka Beyond stands out from a world fusion crowd that includes groups like Deep Forest and the Afro-Celt Sound System by delving a little deeper than most into both the African and Celtic roots of its music. On East to West, instead of dropping in the occasional sample for exotic effect, the group places the disparate elements together in a live context with thrilling results: "Awaya Baka," where a chorus sung by Baka children melds with Paddy Le Mercer's Celtic whistle amid a funky Highlife groove; "An Gwirder," where Nii Tagoe's West African balafon and Alan Burton's bagpipes, based on similar pentatonic scales, mix seamlessly; and "Wandering Spirit," which fuses two Scottish jigs with a traditional Baka dance rhythm. --Ezra Gale

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 11, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Narada
  • ASIN: B000087DTX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,077 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on February 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's good to see that Baka Beyond is not resting on its laurels but has come out with another great, creative CD. Existing fans should not hesitate to get this. I've only had one complete listen-through but this CD seems to have more of a celtic influence than predecessors which is fine with me. Plus the djembe playing is excellent and more pronounced. While the group stays true to its acoustic feel, I was happy to hear some experimentation with electric guitar as well. Congratulations to Martin Cradick and company.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard Baka Beyond at a festival and was enthralled immediately. Their music is infectious and forces you to smile, sway and rock back and forth in your chair before finally being carried away and jumping up and dancing with full force in the aisle! Listen and be enchanted for yourself :)
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If you have never listened to their original discs called Outbac - look for them. Baka incorporates more voices, - espeically native african sounds and rhythms. While you can use this to relax to - you well may get caught up in the instrumenation and the way they have woven the structure together.
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Very successful mix of African and Celtic styles. The rhythm and syncopation of the Baka percussion, and their complex singing, provides a surprisingly interesting background for Irish lyrics and melodies. This goes to show how cultural mixings can produce really show-stopping aesthetics.
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