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: The Music of the Baka Forest People of Southeast Cameroon, was released the following year. Joined by Breton fiddler Paddy LeMercier, Cradick and Hart recorded two albums with musicians from the Baka tribe: Spirit of the Forest, released in 1994; and The Meeting Pool, released in October 1995. The group continued to evolve into a touring ensemble with the addition of Senegalese percussionist Sagar N'Gom, an ex-member of Outback; keyboardist Tom Green, formerly of the Orb; drummer Sam Pope; bassist Marcus Pinto; and vocalist Kate (Budd) Hardy. Baka Beyond's 1998 album, Journey Beyond, was a heavier produced project featuring guests including percussionists from the Ghanaian band Kakasitsi. Although most of the album was recorded in England, African vocals for two songs -- "Migrations" and "Konti" -- were recorded while Cradick, Hart and their son traveled through Senegal. ~ Craig Harris