from Vancouver, BC –
Alpha Yaya Diallo, guitarist, singer, songwriter is a three-time Juno Award winner. A true multi-cultural artist, he performs in French, English and his native Guinean languages of Fulani, Malinke, and Sosoxi.
Diallo’s dexterous acoustic and electric guitar-playing, with its fluid melodic lines and compelling grooves, places him in the front ranks of African musicians. His band, Bafing, features high energy African rhythms, visually captivating dancers and a hypnotic percussion section.
Alpha was discovered in the late 1980’s by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records when he was touring as the lead guitarist for the group Fatala. By successfully uniting the traditional and the contemporary, Diallo has carved a niche for himself beside such West African luminaries as Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, and Ismael Lo.
Born in Guinea, West Africa, Diallo was frequently on the move with his family, growing up in a number of regions. There he was exposed to a variety of cultures, and musical traditions from the Malenke, Sousou, and his own Foulani people. In addition he spent time in neighbouring Senegal and picked up the popular and powerful mbalax rhythm there – as well as influences from Cape Verde and the Caribbean.
With six highly-acclaimed albums of his own compositions, including Juno Award winners The Message and The Journey, it was a natural fit for him to take part in the hugely successful African Guitar Summit concert at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto with Pa Joe, Mighty Popo, Madagascar Slim, Adam Solomon, and Donné Robert. The concert led to two recordings released by CBC Records, leading to another Juno Award for African Guitar Summit.
In 2007, Alpha was the only North American artist approached by the United Nations, to create a new work for a compilation CD that will further raise awareness around the issues of HIV/AIDS, hunger, and debt relief in Africa. The finished piece, Imme Africa / Get Up Africa is a tribute and a call to the people of that continent – their potential and responsibility.
Diallo’s musical inheritance is something he always wants to nurture and to build upon. He never strays far from these roots, while at the same time ensuring that his performances and his albums make use of the very latest advances in music technology