Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey
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Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"An assemblage of musicians and dancers in outrageous costumes, banging on drums for all they’re worth—Mr. Baptista’s band is Brazilian carnival crossed with Lower East Side performance art. It makes a ruckus, and it’s wild, vivid entertainment."
- Jon Pareles


"The conceptual lines between music, voice, rhythm and dance melt into air, as the percussionists interact in a sweaty tag-team musical kinesthesia."
–Michael Stone, RootsWorld

- Michael Stone


"Beat the Donkey expresses the physicality of music. It is a thunderous, theatrical, multicultural ensemble accompanied by dancers who have the enthusiasm of martial arts students."
- Jeff Spevak


"There was sword dancing, acrobatic stunts, carnival costumes, and through it all, some of the most innovative percussion I've ever seen. Thank goodness for musicians who have the courage to really get out there and try to do something completely different."
- Leigh Buckley Fountain


"The freewheeling, remarkably energetic show was held together by its beats. Leader Cyro Baptista, a master percussionist, and his nine supporting musicians, who stuck mostly to percussion instruments as well, generated wave after wave of rhythm." - Jay Lustig


"Africa might have been part of Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista's Beat the Donkey's show at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The group dove into just about every musical idiom on the planet. Looking like Rio's smartest samba school on a shopping trip in New York's East Village, a few minutes of BTD's Australian didgeridoo turned into tap dance, which quickly turned into Indonesian gamelan - all with requisite, and elaborate, costume changes." - Aaron Cohen


"The famed hand-percussionist has provided pop stars and jazz bigwigs with the kind of extra oomph that turns an ordinary track into something unique. The arrangements used by his 10-member drum ensemble have an orchestral tinge. But don't think stodgy - this band has an entertainment jones, and the energy of their attack has a free-for-all physicality that keeps a smile on your face." - Jim Macnie


Selected Beat the Donkey as one of the top 10 Best Alternative CDs for 2002. - Music Staff


Cyro Baptista's Beat the Donkey is kicking at the Kennedy Center Film Theater as part of the Prelude Festival. The Brazilian ensemble features half a dozen or more percussionists (plus dancers) and blends African, Indonesian, jazz and hip-hop beats. - Kennedy Center Performance Preview


Discography

BEAT THE DONKEY Beat the Donkey
CYRO BAPTISTA Vira Loucos
CYRO BAPTISTA & KEVIN BREIT Supergenerous
YO-YO MA Obrigado Brazil - 3 Time Grammy Nominated
TREY ANASTASIO Plasma
TREY ANASTASIO Alive Again
HERBIE HANCOCK Gershwin’s World - Grammy Winner
BILLY MARTIN Drop the Needle/ Illy B Eats
PAUL SIMON Concert in the Park
IVAN LINS A Love Affair - Grammy Winner
MARISA MONTE Mais
GATO BARBIERI Que Pasa
THE CHIEFTAINS Santiago - Grammy Winner
DAVID BYRNE Rei Momo
ROBERT PALMER Don’t Explain
CASSANDRA WILSON Belly  of  The  Sun
CASSANDRA WILSON Blue Light  ‘Til Dawn - Grammy Winner
CASSANDRA WILSON New Moon Daughter
LAURIE ANDERSON Strange Angels
LAURIE ANDERSON Bright Red
BOBBY MCFERRIN Beyond Words
DAVID WATSON (with BTD) Skirl
JOHN ZORN Bar Kokhba
JOHN ZORN The Gift
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS X
JOHN ZORN The Big Gundown
JOHN ZORN The Circle Maker
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS II/ Walter Hill
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS 1986-1990
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS III/ 1990-1995
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS IV/ S &M Works
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS V/ Tear Of Ecstasy
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS  VII/ Cynical Hysterie Hour
JOHN ZORN Taboo and Exile
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS XII / Three Documentaries
JOHN ZORN COBRA / Game Pieces Vol II.
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS  IX/ Trembling Before G-d
JOHN ZORN FILM WORKS  VI/1996
DR. JOHN Duke Elegant
NANA VASCONCELOS Fragments - Modern Tradition
NANA VASCONCELOS Rain Dance
TIMSPARKS Tanz
TIM SPARKS At the Rebbe’s Table
DANIEL BARENBOIM Brazilian Rhapsody
KATHLEEN BATTLE So Many Stars

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Grammy-award winning percussionist Cyro Baptista and his 7-piece percussion orchestra, Beat the Donkey, present a musical, dance, and visual event like no other. Beat the Donkey is a literal translation of the Brazilian expression "Pau Na Mula" which, loosely translated, means "let’s take it up a notch," or "let's go, let's do it!"

Since 1997, Beat the Donkey has been creating and performing music and dance which has been described as a "wild, world-beat percussion ensemble that blends and beats up a bewitching stage stew of untamed percussion, tap dance, samba, jazz, rock and funk." Founded by Cyro Baptista, Beat the Donkey is a high energy musical carnival of untamed drummers and dizzying dancers performing with jaw dropping precision including individuals from the U.S., Israel, Europe, Asia, and Brazil. The New York Times has called it "wild, vivid entertainment" and Time Out New York noted it as "a most unforgettable spectacle."

This multi-ethnic drum nucleus is complete with members and influences from Africa, Indonesia, Europe and South America. Beat the Donkey's rhythmic performances are in the vein of Stomp and Blue Man Group—intense visual interaction with heavy beats and enjoyable theatrical performance. Band leader Cyro Baptista has gained international recognition by performing with such artists as Paul Simon, Sting, Trey Anastasio, Herbie Hancock, Yo Yo Ma, Dr. John, David Byrne, and numerous others. He has also managed to record on four Grammy-winning albums throughout his career; additionally, Cyro is the Brazilian percussionist present on Yo-Yo Ma's recent critically-acclaimed release, Obrigado Brazil, which has been nominated for three Grammy awards in 2003.

Cyro leads a torrid ensemble of drummers, percussionists, samba dancers, tap dancers, singers, and exotically costumed half naked players. He has always rejected rigid classification of instrumentation and with Beat the Donkey, lets his imagination run wild, combining music with dance and martial arts, mixing instrumentation from all over the globe, and unusual percussion inventions of his own to create a show of infectious dance music, both spellbinding and mysterious.

Audio and video clips of Beat the Donkey are available at http://www.cyrobaptista.com