Alpha Yaya Diallo

Guinea, British-Colombia World Music

Biography :


Alpha Yaya Diallo was born in Guinea-Conakry. His father, a surgeon, practised in various parts of his country and brought his family along on his various moves. Part of Alpha’s mother’s family lives in Senegal. This moving around enabled Alpha Yaya Diallo to become imbued with various musical cultures from West Africa – or even from the Caribbean, then in vogue in Senegal.

He learned on his own to play the guitar and, while studying, he joined several Guinean groups, including The Sons of Ra’is and Syli Authentique. In the mid-1980s, he emigrated to Europe as a world music wave swept the continent. He performed there with the Fatala group in particular, part of Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Concerts and festivals proliferated throughout Western Europe.

In 1991, during a North American tour with Fatala, Alpha Yaya Diallo decided to settle on the west coast, choosing Vancouver. He set up his group there in 1992, and his first album, Nene, soon came out, with him playing all the instruments. Thanks to this initial opus, he would be nominated for a Juno award (Canadian musical awards), and repeated in 1996 with Futur. In 1999, he finally managed to win a Juno in the “Best World Music Album” category with The Message. Three years later, he rounded out his collection with another Juno award thanks to his album The Journey. In 2004, he took part in the African Guitar Summit compilation, which also won a Juno award. The following year, his album Djama came out, with a clever mix of traditional African sounds and modernity.


During these years, Alpha Yaya Diallo kept evolving while maintaining his roots in his fingers, his voice and his heart. His nomadic travels provided him with opportunities to create a personal style, enhanced by his warm voice and his dexterity with many instruments.


Alpha Yaya Diallo

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