The West African guitar tradition of the Mandigos and Foulahs is fused with influences of contemporary jazz by Guinea-born and Vancouver, Canada-based guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader Alpha Yaya Diallo (pronounced "Jallow"). Together with his band, Baffing, formed in 1992, Diallo has taken the music of his homeland to an international stage. Playing guitar from the age of 12, Diallo first attracted attention as leader of University of Conakry band, the Sons of Rais. Following his graduation, Diallo performed with West African groups such as Love Systems, Kaloum Star and Sorsonet Rhythm. Moving to Europe in the mid-1980s, Diallo played guitar for worldbeat group Fatala during Peter Gabriel's WOMAD tour. After relocating to Canada and forming his own band, Diallo embarked on establishing himself as a bandleader. His second album, Futur, received a Juno award (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy). Diallo's songs, which he sings in Sous Sous, Malinke, Foulagh, French and English, deal with social concerns and the human spirit.
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