October 18, 2007

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Sharing the sound
Diallo brings his music to the people
By Erica Febré efebre@hippopress.com

African world music makes its way to New Hampshire with Alpha Yaya Diallo and his seven-piece band, The Bafing Riders, an international touring group, which will perform Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Dana Center.

Diallo has become known as one of the most inspired and inspiring artists of today’s World Beat music circuit.

He has released five original albums to date, all of which have received recognition via numerous music awards, including several JUNO awards, Canada’s leading music awards.

“We are a contemporary and traditional African music group. We use the traditional instruments and some modern instruments, like the drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar. We also incorporate a lot of singing and dancing, and percussions are a key element,” Diallo said.

Originally from Guinea in West Africa, Diallo moved to Europe to join the group Fatala, which recorded under Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Now Diallo calls Vancouver, Canada, home.

He began touring with his own band in the early ’90s and was signed to an American label by the late ’90’s. Diallo said it’s become more than just a full-time gig.

“When you do something for more than 10 years, almost 15 years now, it becomes a part of you, being on the road and touring. I love it. If you’re a musician, all you have is your music. If people don’t hear your music then you can’t survive as a musician,” Diallo said.

Diallo comes from a continent where there are supposedly more than 1,000 spoken languages, an aspect that he incorporates in much of his music. Diallo recently released the album Djama (which means “The People”).

“Growing up learning multiple languages has really helped me to play in many different styles, from Flamenco to Cuban styles to stuff like reggae and blues,” Diallo said.

A performance by Alpha Yaya Diallo and The Bafing Riders includes more than music, though. The performance is highlighted by traditional African dancers.

“The point is sharing our culture with people. African music is culturally very rich. It’s the roots of many different kinds of music, as we know. We always try to not overproduce the music and keep it to the root, the simple style,” Diallo said.

Alpha Yaya Diallo and The Bafing Riders bring world music to New Hampshire. Courtesy photo.


On drums
Who: Alpha Yaya Diallo and The Bafing Riders
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. at Keene State College; Friday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. at Dana Center; Saturday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. at Lebanon Opera House.
Where: Keene State College, 229 Main St, Keene, 800-KSC-1909; Dana Center, 100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester, 641-7700; Lebanon Opera House, 51 N. Park St., Lebanon, 448-0400
More info: Music samples and more details about Alpha Yaya Diallo and The Bafing Riders are available at alphayayadiallo.com or myspace.com/alphayayadiallo..