Thursday, 20 October 2016

Water Music from the African Rainforest - The Meeting Pool by Baka Beyond

Nicki Edgell

The much maligned term “world music” is entirely apt for Baka Beyond’s The Meeting Pool which records the coming together of a wealth of musical cultures. The group take their name from the Baka rainforest people of Cameroon with whom band leader Martin Cradick struck up a fruitful musical partnership following a visit to the region in 1992.

Field recordings provide much of the music’s African flavour (indeed the Baka people share writing credits and royalties are channelled into local development projects). With studio contributions from other African and European master musicians Cradick has created an intoxicating Afro-Celtic stew.

This multicultural infusion is most obvious on Meeting of Tribes; a traditional Cornish reel is played on Turkish and Arabic instruments, with African drumming and a didgeridoo drone! Its East meets West, North and South, modern and ancient; an organic melting pot of a dish that should taste overdone but is surprisingly delicious.

This wonderfully atmospheric album simply drips with water.

The understated but constantly hypnotic percussion and Cradick’s careful use of samples together with his circular guitar patterns preserve continuity throughout such myriad shifts in style. Furthermore unlike some less sincere world music dance projects that seem to do little more than paste some banging modern beats over traditional instruments The Meeting Pool is authentic and subtle (only in the final remix track are the traditional drums replaced with more electronic Western dance beats).

This wonderfully atmospheric album simply drips with water; from the lush green packaging to the ambient rainforest noises, the distant voices and laughter, the shakers and rain sticks, and the clatter of wooden percussion that permeates throughout each track. The upbeat opening Woosi hypnotises with an African guitar loop and Baka chanting. The gentle Ancestor’s Voice ebbs and flows before merging seamlessly into a tribute to the River LupĂ© via wonderfully evocative water slapping. Ohureo is a beautiful Gallic lullaby with Paddy Le Mercier’s violin soaring to the heights.  Despite the Irish influences his rootsy fiddle playing is far more Scarlet Rivera (as most celebrated on Bob Dylan’s classic Desire album) than Riverdance. On Journey the Frenchman also plays flute over another infectious groove laid down by Senegalese percussionist Sagar N’Gom.  The quiet Ndaweh’s Dream highlights yet another exotic instrument, this time a ngombi (forest harp), before the rousing finale Booma Lena.

About the Author

Nicki Edgell

I am a clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist, Metabolic Balance Coach, Natural Nutritionist and Independent Nikken Consultant. I practice in Brighton in the South of England, helping individuals and groups towards the health, vitality and the life they want for themselves. I work under the principle that wellness depends on a balanced holistic approach to living, in all areas of your life: your body, mind, family, community and financial health all have an impact on your wellbeing.


  1. Have you heard their latest "After the Tempest"?

    1. Hello Madhatter99, thank you for your comment. No I haven't heard that one yet - only Meeting Pool and Ete. I'll check it out, thankyou.


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