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Alpha Yaya Diallo: The Message

West Africa has supplied more than its fair share of inspiring music to the world in the past several years, and, due to internal strife on native soil, much of its creative energies have coalesced outside of Africa, in Paris, England and beyond. Guinean musician Alpha Yaya Diallo has called Vancouver home for years. Diallo states his musical case persuasively with The Message (Wicklow 63407; 48:11), a rhythmically engaging showcase for his skills as a guitarist and vocalist-on both of which he possesses a nimble and organic voice. But this is hardly purist music, leaning here and there towards Cuban influence and R&B notions along with its foundations in Senegal, Cape Verde, and Guinea. Closing the album, in fact, is Diallo’s paen to his adopted hometown, “Vancouver Venez Voir” (Come and see our beautiful city/Life here, its very good…”), percolating with pulsating rhythms and taut group interplay, identifiably West African rather than West Canadian.

Originally Published