Having recently returned from the Festival Daoula in Bamako, Mali; Bethany & Rufus have expanded their group formation to include Yacouba Moumouni (Niger) and Haitian Percussionist 'Bonga' Jean-Baptiste. The expanded group came into being on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of their Label Daqui. Yacouba was appearing with his ground breaking group from Niger, Mamar Kassey, on the same stage as Bethany and Rufus . Yacouba joined Bethany & Rufus for one of the songs and the rest is the kind of magic chemistry that can never be planed.
The following summer the expanded group along with Bonga was invited to perform at Les Nuits Atypique and while doing a promotional spot on Radio France for the festival they were invited to perform on the Live a FIP radio series in March of 2009 that will be released as a Live CD September 10 2009 as a co- production with Radio France and Daqui Records.
It was in the process of rehearsing that the group really came into focus. Bethany as the daughter of legendary 60's Folk singer Peter Yarrow (Peter , Paul & Mary) draws from the many songs that her father collected as part of the seminal folk movement of the 60s. Yacouba has dug deeply into the folkloric Hausa, Djerma, Peul and Songhai traditions of Niger and Bonga is the descendant of a very rich lineage of Vodou ceremonial drumming and song. Bonga has also traveled extensively through Haiti collecting and learning the different manifestations of Haitian song and folklore. Rufus has taken the cello into previously unknown realms and is noted for his collaborations in African, Arabic, and American music forms and also has a solo CD Songs for Cello on the Daqui label. Individually all of the members of the group have been instrumental in expanding the role of traditional forms in their respective musics. It is with this background that they have come together to create a sound that although based around the song forms of American traditional music reaches back to a common root that has inspired everyone involved.
In 2003, Bethany released her debut CD, entitled "Rock Island", to amazing (and amazed) reviews. Beautifully produced by Kevin Salem (Mercury Rev, Bad Brains, Chocolate Genius) and Knox Chandler (David Gahan, Siouxsie & the Banshees), the CD mixed the gloss of pop production with banjos, dulcimers, harmonicas, slide guitars, gospel choirs, and the sampled ghosts of some of the great blues singers in America. In totally unexpected ways, Bethany took traditional slave lullabies, prison songs, and murder ballads, and turned them into grooving electronic pop for a new generation.