Alpha Yaya Diallo

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For the Malian drummer, see Yaya Diallo.
Alpha Yaya Diallo
Alpha Yaya Diallo.jpg
Background information
Born Guinea
Origin Foulani
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, balafon
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Jericho Beach Music

Alpha Yaya Diallo (born is a Guinean-born Canadian self-taught guitarist, singer and songwriter. He incorporates Guinea's rich musical tradition into his original compositions. Diallo has won two Juno Awards outright, shared a third and was nominated another three times.[1]


Diallo was born in Guinea.[2] When he was young, he followed his father, a doctor who was in demand all around the country; this exposed him to a wide variety of cultural experiences, both from the different ethnic groups within Guinea itself and from neighbouring countries.[2]

When Guinea gained its independence from France in 1958, its Marxist first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré, launched a cultural program aimed at the rediscovery and support of "Guinea's music, arts, dance and languages."[3] Diallo recalled that, "At the time every family had a member who was being trained in music."[4] He started playing percussion in school, but taught himself to play the guitar at an early age (either "probably six or seven"[4] or 12,[2] according to his inconsistent recollections). After graduating from university, he worked as a guitarist with various groups.

Diallo moved to Europe in the mid-1980s, where he worked particularly with the Fatala group, which played traditional Guinean music and was associated with Peter Gabriel's music label.[2][5] After extensive touring, Diallo settled down in Vancouver, Canada, in 1991.[2][5] In 1993, he released his solo first album, Nene, which was nominated for a Juno Award, as was his 1996 album Futur.[1] He won his first Juno, for The Message in 1999 in the "Best World Music Album" category, a second in 2002 (for The Journey) and shared a third in 2004 for the African Guitar Summit compilation.[1] He released Djama in 2005.[5] He won the Best World Artist-Solo at the inaugural Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2006.[6] He plays with Ghanaian guitarist Pa Joe Diallo, Adam Solomo and Mighty Popo in African Guitar Summit.[2][7]

He produced a film documentary entitled Best of Both Worlds, which was filmed in West Africa, Canada and France.[7]


  • 1993: Néné (Bafing Productions) – nominated for a Juno Award[1]
  • 1996: Futur (Bafing Productions) – nominated for a Juno Award[1]
  • 1998: The Message (Bafing Productions) – won the Juno Award for Best Global Album[1]
  • 2001: The Journey (Jericho Beach Music) – won the Juno Award for Best Global Album[1]
  • 2004: African Guitar Summit (CBC Recordings) collaboration – won the Juno Award in Best World Music Album category[8]
  • 2005: Djama (Jericho Beach Music) – nominated for a Juno Award[1]
  • 2010: Immé (Jericho Beach Music)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The JUNO Awards: Alpha Yaya Diallo". Juno Awards. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dacks, David (June 27, 2010). "Alpha Yaya Diallo". Exclaim!. 
  3. ^ Camara, Mohamed Saliou; O'Toole, Thomas; Baker, Janice E. (November 7, 2013). Historical Dictionary of Guinea. Scarecrow Press. p. 222. ISBN 9780810879690. 
  4. ^ a b "Alpha Yaya Diallo: Musical Mixologist by Dave O Rama". BC Musician. May 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Alpha Yaya Diallo". Festival International Nuits d'Afrique de Montréal. 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Greg Quill, "Signs of strength in roots music; Great Big Sea ushered in Maritime revival", Toronto Star, 5 January 2006.
  7. ^ a b Graham Rockingham (23 February 2006). "Diallo singing for his people in Africa". Retrieved 7 January 2012. [dead link]
  8. ^ "The JUNO Awards: World Music Album of the Year (2003-Present)". Juno Awards. 

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