Gati Bongo is the amazing and compelling debut album by Baka Gbiné, recorded live in the rainforest of Cameroon in 2004 and 2005. It comes as the result of regular visits to the Baka's homeland by British members of Afro-Celtic band Baka Beyond.
Martin Cradick and Su Hart of Baka Beyond have regularly stayed with the Baka in Africa, taking and donating a number of guitars as part of a 15 year collaboration. Using these guitars alongside traditional instruments made in the forest, the Baka Pygmies have created their own band, Baka Gbiné - together with a distinct and irresistible musical style.
The album was recorded using a solar-powered mobile studio set up under a giant tree deep in the forest, and completed in England at Martin Cradick's studio in Bath. Two songs from the album, title track 'Gati Bongo' and 'Mosumana Collé', were released on iTunes in January 2006.
Music is an integral part of life for the members of Baka Gbine and their community. Song and rhythm are essential to their lives for many reasons, including the sheer fun they bring. The Gati Bongo album captures this sense of fun perfectly, bringing this joyous, spiritual and vibrant music to an international audience.
Royalties earned by Baka Gbine are channelled back to the Baka musicians and their communities through the UK based charity Global Music Exchange. This money has already enabled them to win land rights and recognition as Cameroonian citizens, as well as funding the building of a medical centre and a beautiful 'music house'. These positive steps help protect the Baka's forest environment and unique hunter-gatherer way of life.