Yaya Diallo, traditional musician and author from Mali, performs both traditional and popular West African Kanza music. Yaya Diallo's sound ranges from traditional village music with African drums, balafon and flute music to his innovative popular Kanza dance band sound with Western instruments including sax, electric violin, guitars and drum set as well as the traditional instruments.
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Yaya Diallo was born in 1946 in Fienso, in the Republic of Mali, to a nomadic Peul father and a Minianka mother. Since early childhood, he was exploring the balafons which were kept in his paternal family. Yayas first drum was sculpted by the blacksmith Nianson Koroma.
Thanks to his mother, being from the illustrious Berthé family--hunters, county chiefs and musicians--young Yaya had the chance to hear some of the best musicians of the former canton Zangasso. In his own village, he befriended the old musician, healer, and sorcerer Nangapè Koné who became his protector and mentor.
In 1967 Yaya obtained a grant from his government to study chemistry at the University of Montreal where he received a diploma in 1973. The Super Franco-Fête in Quebec in 1974 stirred the dormant musician in Yaya. In 1976, following a brief career as a chemist, he returned to traditional African music. He was a co-founder of the groups Djembe-Kan and Cléba.
The recording, Nangapè, made in 1980, is the result of Yayas experiences and influences during his youth. The album brings together the music of two distinct heritages: the flute coming from the nomadic Peul culture and the balafon played by the sedentary Minianka.
Nangapè was the forerunner of several musical and written published works. This classic 1980 instrumental album of African drumming, balafon and flute music remains avant-garde decades after its original release. The music is both energizing and relaxing a healing music album congruent with the nature of traditional African music. Onzou Records has reissued "Nangape" in 2002, makes available the 1995 album "Dounoukan" and has released "Live at Club Soda" in 2003. Music from these albums can be listened to in streaming mp3 on CBCs New Music Canada, www.newmusiccanada.com.
Yaya Diallo has acquired a reputation as a musician, composer, dancer, healer, teacher, lecturer, storyteller, guide to Mali and author. Yayas performance with his band Kanza in 1989 moves with saxophone, electric violin, bass and lead guitars, drum set and voice along with traditional drums and balafon. This melding of African and occidental instruments can be heard on Yaya Diallos album "Live at Club Soda."
Yaya says in an interview, My purpose is to bring a different point of view of African drumming to America. To share the rhythms of my grandparents along with the knowledge of my people and our culture with the world. Plant seeds in the soul of people by giving them the basic foundation of drumming and all its healing powers.
Yaya Diallo is always interested in the religious, mystical, and spiritual aspects of the music as evidenced in his book The Healing Drum: African Wisdom Teachings.
For a special moment listen to Yaya Diallo with his band Kanza on the 2003 release "Live at Club Soda." Yaya Diallo performs solo, accompanied and with his band Kanza as well as teaching African music and dance and lecturing on African society and culture.
Yaya Diallo's album "Nangape" is the result of his experiences and influences growing up in traditional West African village society. His expression of African music comes from his heritage of two distict cultures, the nomadic Peul from his father's side and the sedentary Minanka of his mother's family.
Born into a family of hunters, county chiefs and musicians Yaya had the chance to hear some of the best musicians of the former canton Zangasso. In his own village he befriended the old musician, healer and sorcerer Nangape Kone who became his protector and mentor.
From childhood Yaya was surrounded with the music of flutes, drums and balafons. With Yaya's move to Canada he allows for the expression of Western musicians within the traditonal African structure, drawing on the influences of jazz, rock, blues and classical music in his compositions.
Insight, experience and intuition are the best equipment for a traditional African musician which implies the dual role of that as healer.
As producer, I would like to say that the music Onzou Records produces with Yaya Diallo goes beyond any limited sense of an individual. The entire purpose is to transmit and share the music, rhythms and knowledge Yaya carries as his heritage.