Baka beyond is one of my favorite world music groups. Not that there are many , as usually I try to stay away from the fusions of the world. They always sound so pretentious on one hand, and completely missing the point on the other. Even yoyo ma's silk road project was a bit…dubious at times.
But baka beyond managed to pass that test, equilibrating the subtle harmony of original authentic voices and rhythms with modern western instruments and adaptations.
Keeping still is only an option for the dead, or those too mesmerised by the sheer joy of it all"
The advantage they had might be due to the fact that unlike most musicians who think that dressing in white robes and smoking some funny weed while chanting before you play is world music, the musicians who formed baka and beyond actually went around the world gathering material, studying the singing and playing methods and structures in different parts of the Cameroon rain forest, especially, as the name implies in the baka tribe, and then worked with that knowledge to create something that does not rape the original music but nurtures it, keep it as part of the future, where it is supposed to be, not forgotten, but not mutated , not yet, baka beyond is just another step in the evolution of that tribal music, and that is what I like about them.
A large portion of the income from the sales of the cd's was used to improve the life in the baka tribe, and the nicest piece of the story, after a request from the baka people themselves, a permanent recording studio was built in the village main hut.
What would it take to put a recording studio in each and every of those soon to be forgotten components of our human story? it can't be that hard. Baka beyond success was a milestone in world music, and a good example to how it could be done. For the benefit of everyone.
It is the beat, you can't really stand still when you hear those forest drums, like the heartbeats of million small animals running around you, staying just out of the light of the campfire, a beat that is the heart of the jungle, of all living things.
I always found that these beats are still the best, most effective way to reconnect to that piece of boiling magma we are standing on, as they are never imposing, they are always going with the flow, always keep on beating, and in our heart we know that when they will beat no more, a same fate will come to that heart itself.
Baka and beyond manage to keep the original beat alive, adding a small Celtic violin, maybe even some almost electronic loop on it in live shows, but all the time keeping the beat alive. Be it African, Amazonian, Irish, American, always keep the same internal clock that runs just a little too fast, that energy that flows as you physically feel the need to start moving and shaking in your chair. Keeping the beat. Keeping us alive.
I will be happy when I see a hundred groups like that, and I am willing to personally be the one who sacrifices Justin Beiber to the gods of music, if they want to make that deal.