Orchestre Baka Gbiné have 2 lineups. One performs traditional music, passed down over thousands of years, and the other performs contemporary songs that they write themselves and perform with guitars, percussion and drums. Like with most other things Baka, although roles are demarcated, they are not strictly enforced and there is flow between them.
The music and dance of the Baka comes from thousands of years of unbroken forest tradition. The women have always sung yelli, strange and beautiful wordless yodelling, unaccompanied at night as a vital part of hunting large animals. It is also sung accompanied by drums and dance during ceremonies, parties and when the spirit takes them.
In January 2010 20 members of the community at Gbiné travelled to Limbe, 3 days journey by bus to the other end of the country, where they performed at Under the Volcano Festival. They joined dancers and musicians from 7 other regions of Cameroon to represent their region in a national festival of traditional music and dance organised by Global Music Exchange (GME).
Since then they have performed around Cameroon including on CRTV's "Tam Tam Weekend" and a performance for the British High Commissioner.
Royalties from all Baka Gbiné's recordings go back to them via GME
Pelembir and Mbeh were both playing guitar before Martin and Su arrived with another guitar and a mandolin in 1992. It was the music that they played together on this first visit that inspired the creation of Baka Beyond. Since then many more people have learned the guitar and as a group they are in great demand locally. They have also played in the cities of Douala, Yaounde and Brazzaville, as well as further afield in Europe.
Baka Gbiné have recorded 2 guitar-based albums, Gati Bongo (2006) and Kopolo (2012). Their songs mix fast but gentle syncopated rhythms with guitar lines inspired by the Congolese music that they hear on the radio. Their traditional songs and rhythms are incorporated into songs filled with insightful lyrics.
The following video is the track Hélène, recorded live at the Zodiac in Oxford, UK.
Fombo and Kanya performing the Yelli Dance
Booma Dance at Under the Volcano Festival
Mokoloba playing the ngombi na peke
Metouli on tour in UK with Baka Beyond
Baka Gbine in concert on Congo border
Lekeweh dancing with De of Baka Beyond
pelembir performing in the Music House
Mbeh recording at Lupé