Beyond The Forest
added: 29 Apr 2009
// release date: 29 Apr 2009 // label: March Hare
reviewer: Music-News.com Newsdesk
Remarkable. This is one of those very few works that deserves the name ‘Crossover’ as it crosses over boundary after boundary and creates a form that is of all its components but is also completey individual. Oh and rather beautiful as well.
Baka Beyond have taken the traditional ‘Yelli’ songs of the rainforest pygmy women – used to enchant animals in the home forests – and added some traditional and some western instruments. As well as the inevitable Ngoni and ndong you are treated to eulian pipes, fiddle, gambarde and iloung, all played brilliantly.
Your first impression is probably ‘wow, that is the best yodelling I’ve heard in a while’ because the voices possess a yodelling quality but, frankly, to my ears are far more attractive.
As you listen further you begin to hear all sorts of influences – Griot, Veldt tribal chants, Scottish folk – and they all work together to form a music that transports you to the forest floor, shakes your shoulders and is simply impossible to switch off once started. The voices of the Pygmy women range in tonality, but the range is perfectly pitched and creates harmonies that are well outside the normal Western timbre while the rhythmic percussion throughout is exhilarating.
Although the musicians are learning from each other and, to certain extent, making it up as they go there is never a sense that sounds are being thrown in for the sake of it; this is music with real depth and quality and a huge amount of charm.
This is real ‘World Music’ – crossing continents with a smile.
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