Who: Alpha YaYa Diallo
Where: Boot Pub
When: Monday, Jan. 17
One of the Boot Pubs most popular visiting players returns this Monday.
Guinea-born African World Music guitar master Alpha YaYa Diallo is making his yearly trip up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to throw down a set of his famous afro-funk riffs.
Since his last visit in February 2004, Diallo has had a banner year. He toured Europe and was once again a fixture on Canadas summer jazz and folk festival circuit. He recorded his fifth full-length album and also took part in a CBC recording project called the African Guitar Summit. The project brought together a group of renowned African-born Canadian kings of the six-string at Torontos Glenn Gould Theatre for both a live performance recording and a subsequent studio recording released this past November.
The artists latest album Djama was also completed last November but wont be released until Feb. 14. Boot-goers this Monday will get a live sneak peak at some of the songs but wont be able to obtain the album until the official release date.
The title means "the people" in the Northwest African Fulani language, Guinean-born Diallos mother tongue. "Everything is about the people," Diallo explains. "People are the ones who listen to music."
He describes the new work as a more traditional sound less contemporary blues/rock this time around with an even greater emphasis on African roots. With the exception of electric guitar and bass Djama is exclusively acoustic, making use of a host of guest collaborators from Europe and San Francisco on traditional instruments.
Even in his more rock and blues-influenced compositions, Diallo has prided himself on remaining steadfastly connected to his roots.
"In the studio, Im very careful with what I do, because I identify myself as an African musician and I want to keep myself that way," he has said.
But even with a more introspective, traditional focus, Diallos songs will never lose their infectious dancehall groove, which is what has endeared him to his fans in Whistler and the rest of the world over the years.
With the impending demise of the Boot Pub after the propertys sale to Cressey Developments in 2003, this is very likely the last time his funky-afro guitar rhythms will ever bounce off the intimate Boot walls. A repeat player at the illustrious pub over the years, Diallo is allowing himself to get a little sentimental.
"Its very sad when a musician hears a club is closing down," he says. "Its contributed to my career. Weve met people, weve sold CDs weve had a drink and weve had fun. Were going to miss the Boot if that happens. Its very sad, but its not going to stop us going to Whistler."
Not too sentimental. You can crush his favourite venue, but you cant keep a good guitar player down.