Baka Beyond Baka Beyond the Forest Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Gives the listener a rare musical insight into an indigenous African Sound.

Johnny Lais 2009

Beyond The forest is an experimental mix of chant-like vocals from Cameroon's Baka Pygmies. The sound of Yelli or ritual singing of the Baka women drives the album. Rhythms based on the vocal patterns give the album an interesting Reggae-Blues sound. At times it works and at others seems off the mark slightly.

Sadly the weaker points are where the fusion is at its most obvious, this is where the album struggles. The Gaelic vocal arrangements do not always connect with the music. At points the album seems laden with sounds, giving the music a clipped, over-produced quality. The attempt to fuse the sound is, in parts, oppressive.

In spite of that, the album does have some fantastic moments where somehow the combination really works. The track Ilha Dhuinn has a remarkably meditative sound where all the elements compliment each other musically. The strongest points are where the fusion is understated. On Together Again we hear the styles ride each other to spectacular effect.

The audio recordings of the Interlocking Baka vocals are both interesting and captivating. Replicating the vocals with guitar is an example of why this album does actually work. The captivating Nahwiah’s Dream has an interesting Afro Reggae character. Clearly huge amounts of thought went into this album. As a whole it is an interesting musical achievement.

In spite of some tracks sounding discordant this is a noble effort, where the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses. The recordings of the Baka people’s mystical vocals give the listener a rare musical insight into an indigenous African Sound.

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