For other people named Yaya Diallo, see Yaya Diallo (disambiguation).
Yaya Diallo is a musician and author from the Republic of Mali.
Yaya Diallo was born in 1946 in the village of Fienso (French Sudan) now Mali, to a nomadic Fula father and a Minianka mother. Yaya was raised in a culture that works, worships, lives and breathes to the beat of the drum. Thanks to his mother, being from the illustrious Berthe family (hunters, county chiefs, musicians...), young Yaya had the opportunity to hear some of the best musicians of the former canton Zangasso. The old musician, healer and sorcerer Nangape Kone became his protector and mentor.
Arriving in Montreal, Canada, in 1967, Yaya graduated from the University of Montreal in Chemistry in 1973. Following a brief career as a chemist, Yaya returned to traditional African music. He was a co-founder of the music and dance groups Djembe-Kan and Cleba and a member of the African Troubadours with the World Music Institute as well as a faculty member with the Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, NY, and the Omega Institute.
Yaya is currently teaching Applied World Percussion at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. He also offers workshops in traditional African healing, music and dance for the community. He was a seasonal lecturer at Carlton University, teaching Aural Training I & II from 1987 to 1992. In the meantime Yaya worked for Multiculturalism at Schools and the Community (MASC) in Ontario and Quebec, Canada, teaching more than 6000 students per year. From 1974 to 1986, he was a staff member of the Intercultural Institute of Montreal, Canada. There he organized workshops and lectures about different aspects of diverse cultures living in Montreal. Topics ranged from Alternative Medicine to Aging to Music in different cultures.
He has performed throughout the USA, Canada, Asia (Japan, Singapore), Europe (France, England, and Belgium).
1 Early Years 1.1 Origin in Fienso
In his book, The Healing Drum, Yaya Diallo wrote a lot of things about his mother and her famous family of Zangasso. He never wrote about his nomadic heritage. That is a missing link in his life that people do not know. Yaya Diallo's great grand father's name was Yoro Diallo. When he stopped in Fienso he changed his family name and opted for Sountoura instead. Sountoura and Diallo are the same name. In some parts of West Africa, Fula people (Fulani; French: Peul; Fula: Fulɓe) are not welcomed, especially the Diallo family. Today in Mali, all people whose family name is Sountoura are Diallo, which is a living fact.
In order to be accepted in Fienso, Yaya Diallo's ancestors were sponsored by a Minianka family called Zango-o where the last name is Kone. Even today, the two families have a special relationship, brotherhood and sisterhood.
Yaya Diallo's family was semi-nomadic. One part stayed in Fienso and the second was nomadic in the hostile Miniankala. Minianka farmers used to hate Fula people because the animals destroyed crops and young plants. In order to travel, Fula people have to be initiated to the most secret societies. Yaya Diallo's grandfather, Flantio became a powerful man who was feared by everyone. When he touched you with his magic stick, you got diarrhea. Flantio took back the name Diallo. He married Yaya's grandmother, gNire Kone, from the powerful family Kone of the village Ziena. She was a midwife.
A marabout (seer) Fula made a prophecy to Flantio saying that one of his grandsons would be well known in the world using paper and sound. This is similar to the one they made to his mother. At that time, most of Minianka had never seen a piece of paper.
1.2 His Father
Yaya Diallo's father, Sibo Diallo, was a Nia Messenger from his birthday until 1974 when he became Muslim. He was a medium. During the rituals of Nia Society he came into a trance while his youngest brother was playing Nia Ngoni (African bass guitar). In his trance, Yaya's father could predict the future of the village people, family by family. he predicted diseases, bad weather, disasters, death, gender of babies in their mother's womb with a surprising accuracy. For each disease, he recommended the herbs to use. Only the initiators understood his language. In his daily life, he knew a lot of medicinal herbs. He was a specialist of the digestive system and all diseases related to it. He was the mentor of Nia Borotali (the messengers of Nia). He could read and translate the 266 characters of Nia. He died April 19, 1995 before Yaya Diallo. In Africa, it is a blessing to have the last word of one's dying father, and Yaya had it and participated in the funerals. Yaya Diallo's mother died on 2 February 1997.
1.3 Nomadic life
Each male child in Diallo's family from the age of four to 21 years had to live a nomadic life; Each female child lived nomadically from the age of six until she was married at 16 or after.
To survive in nature, Yaya Diallo had to learn useful things. At first he learned that to live, he should be strong; this is natural selection. He should have some basic needs: Listening- he had to know the sound of hungry lions, hyenas, etc.; Observation- he should look at what's around him, snakes, scorpions; Smelling- to protect himself, Diallo learned deadly smells. Also, he learned the paradox of nature which is: the plant near a poisonous plant has the antidote of the poison. We have a poison and its antidote. Many human diseases have their medications in nature. Yaya Diallo knows how to cure or stop the symptoms of some illnesses: diarrhea, flu, headaches, and the bites or stings of scorpions, snakes, bees, and wasps.
As Fula in Yaya Diallo's family, they breed cattle and sheep. They were always moving, looking for some good place where the animals could get good grass and water; where there were no harmful insects that could give infectious diseases to the cattle. They built temporary huts near a village. Women go to the village to sell or trade dairy products like milk and butter and to buy the ingredients for food: rice, fish, and flour. They cooked and slept in the temporary huts. During the day, Yaya Diallo herded animals in order to feed them. He had to follow the rhythm of the animals; that is a good school for patience.
By some nights, predators such as hyenas and lions came and attacked animals. The shepherds had to hunt them away. Those were the difficult times. When one animal is killed, all the animals were stressed for days. Sometimes they called musicians to play so animals went away.
Yaya Diallo was subdued to some familial taboos. It is absolutely forbidden to cut down flowers and end the process of reproduction of green plants. Never cut down trees without good reason.
1.4 Family values
To be a successful man, one should put a lot of big, heavy necklaces around his wife's neck. He has to hang big golden earrings from his spouse's ears. To be wealthy and respected like a wealthy man, one should have a big herd of cattle and a lot of sheep. At the school of Nature, Diallo had time to observe and learn. Daily he met many animals: predators, birds, reptiles, herbivores, and all kinds of insects. He also learned about plants. All those factors justified why Diallo was a good biology student and his interests in medical herbs.
In 1953, Diallo went to French school at Zangasso, his mother's native village. During school, Diallo was sedentary. As soon as school stopped he joined the nomadic people. When he came to North America, that was the end of his nomadic life, but as a musician he loves traveling. He said, "The school of traveling is unique. You can not learn in books what you learn when you travel."
1.5 Western education
Diallo started French school in 1953. At the time French school was considered a curse for villagers. According to the prediction of villagers, Yaya Diallo could not stay in school for two years, "he is not even good enough to be black, how can he succeed in the white man's school?" Since he went to the classroom he was ranked among the five best students out of 51 in total. He successfully went through all kinds of difficulties. In 1959, the last year of primary school in Zangasso, his teacher Arouna Dembele believed that Yaya Diallo could be one of the best Africans in Sudan to succeed in the contest required to go to Lycees and colleges. He failed the contest, for some reasons he had explained in the Healing Drum, but he succeeded in completing the exams for the certificate of primary studies. It was the first and last degree of the Federation of Mali (Mali-Senegal) which lasted only three months, from June to August. This diploma is a historical document.
From 1959 to 1960, he came back to school and succeeded in the contest and went to the College Moderne of Sikasso. In the 7th grade there were 120 students coming from all schools of the Sikasso Region. The best 30 students would go to the Lycee Henri Terrassons de Fougeres at Bamako. That school became Lycee Askia Mohamed in 1962-63. In spite of all kinds of difficulties, Yaya Diallo was ranked among the top thirty students (Healing Drum, pp. 143-145).
He successfully got the D.E.F: Diploma of Fundamental Studies in 1964. In order to help his mother, he wanted to go to a special school to become a teacher, but his mother refused his request. He was oriented to biological studies (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology). In 1966, he succeeded in both writing and oral exams and obtained the first part of Baccalaureal Francais (Malien).
In 1967, the last year of secondary school, he was one of the best students in biology for the last twenty years according to the biology teacher Madame Le Blanc. That meant he could have a scholarship from the World Health Organization to go to medical school in France. The teacher had made good recommendations to medical schools. In April 1967, Yaya Diallo got the scholarship from Canada to become a Sanitary Engineer. he accepted that offer. With tears, his biology teacher did recommendations to Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. He came to Canada with the reputation of being horrible at drawing: arts or technical.
He came to Montreal on September 22, 1967, two weeks before the mid-term exams. He studied in the metric system in Africa and had exams with the British system. All his textbooks were in English, as well. He lost one year trying to adapt to the new environment and system. In 1968-69, he passed all exams except technical drawing. His teacher PM Cote told him, "There is no engineer without drawings." He took the course again and failed. Canada government recommended him to go to intensive drawing class. He refused the request, lost his scholarship, and became an illegal alien. His girlfriend's father, manager of Stuart Biscuit, found him a job in the factory. He worked hard, got money and went to study organic chemistry in order to understand the chemical products in herbs and plants. It was a blessing for him. From 1969 to 1970 he was working full-time by night (4pm-2am) and school full-time (8am-3pm). In October 1970, he stopped because there was the October Revolution in Montreal. In 1973, Diallo got his diploma: specialized bachelor's in organic chemistry.
2 Brief career as a chemist
2.1 University of Montreal
After graduation he was hired by Dr. Robert Marchesseault, the Head of the Department of Chemistry, to work on a special project for Domtar Inc. Using Ziegler-Natta catalysts, Diallo was to determine how to make waterproof paper from rolls of paper in movement. There was nothing new. It was easier to make waterproof paper in a stable position rather than on the rolls of paper that are produced in factories. The team had built a mechanical system for the purpose of conducting this experiment. At one side, the paper unrolled, went in the solvent, and then entered in the catalysts in which it was injected with a gas, ethylene. Ziegler-Natta catalysts controlled the size of the polymers (polyethylene) inside and outside the paper at the movement. The paper went out of the products, travelled a distance of two feet, the time needed to be dried. Then the dried paper wound around a bar to make a roll of waterproof paper. Several tests were then performed. Diallo put one piece of paper in water for one day and another for one week to find out if they absorbed water. The final product was sent to Domtar at Pointe-Claire. There, paper was submitted to a pressure of 1,000 pounds in order to homogenize the surface of the paper.
To prove the utility of the project, Diallo had to determine the time of the paper in the solvent, the time in the products, and the time the paper needed to be dried. He also had to calculate the quantities of the solvent, of the products, and of the wastes as plastics. Yaya said, "I like this project. I studied chemistry to get my hands wet. I like the technical aspect of sciences. I want to make products."
He interrupted his career to apply for the Canadian government waiver for illegal aliens.
In August, Diallo learned that the Canadians made an armistice for illegal aliens and especially for students. He went to get registered as a student at H.E.C. (Hautes Etudes Commerciales), a business school. He got the requested papers to stay in Canada. He went through nightmares. The officers of immigration were outraged because Diallo's case became very popular. Look at the case: He came with a scholarship that he lost and still stayed in Canada. He studied at the same university, got a social security number, worked at a factory and at the department of chemistry without questions. People who know the man say, "That is Yaya Diallo. That is him."
For eight months, the immigration's officers gave him a hard time. He had to come to their office twice a week and each time he met a new officer. On March 1974, he received an order to leave Canada or he would be deported in two days. He met the right people a the right time and was given permission to stay in Canada. He had the choice to stay and study or to become an immigrant. He became an immigrant in 1974 and a Canadian citizen in 1983.
2.3 Second short career as a chemist
In 1975, Diallo was ready to go back home to Mali. In the newspaper he saw a contest in which the winner would get a job at the Department of Geology at the University du Quebec in Montreal. He took a piece of paper, identified 9 mistakes out of 10 in the formulation of the problem and won the contest. He was hired to work with a double collector mass spectrograph. In the Geology Department, Dr. Claude-Marcel Hillaire was in charge of the project. Using the stable isotope, Carbon-13 for dating instead of Carbon-14 which was radioactive. In the entire world, there were only four double collector mass spectrograph. One was in London where they were conceived and built. One was in Australia, another in Montreal, and the last, Yaya has forgotten where it was sold.
Useful project for people living in desert countries:
The first step was to collect carbon dioxide from the sample. Under a vacuum of 0.001 Torr, one attacked the sample with a weak acid such as phosphoric acid. The carbon dioxide appeared as a gas. This gas then went through a trap that was immersed in ice at 0 degrees to retain water vapor. After that, it continued its way to the following trap which was kept at -80 degrees Celsius. The dry vapor was trapped at -180 degrees Celsius where it was a solid. that last trap was immersed in liquid nitrogen.
One fixed the sample and the standard called Chicago on the spectrograph. The two gasses were injected in the machine that collected the mass 44 of the sample and the standard on one side while on the other side, it collected the mass 45 of the two gasses. Based on the difference between the mass 44 of the sample and the standard side, and the difference between the mass 45 of the two gasses, one could calculate the relative age of the sample using a complex formula and Fortran IV on the computer. This part was a nightmare.
According to the literature, this new technique could be used to estimate the age of water trapped underground. Every six months, a sample was taken and analyzed. If the age was the same, that meant that there was no new source of water to that specific location. Only by watching the differences between the mass 44 and 45 of the sample and the standard one, could one make a conclusion that water was unchanged. People who use wells in the desert could be warned that one day they would lack water. When the differences changed, that meant that there was new water, so people could use the water without worries. This technique can be used to determine the age of nitrogen in plankton, as well. Yaya Diallo was enthusiastic to work on the project. One day the destiny called him (Healing Drum).
3 Musical career
Yaya Diallo said, "For my people, with its rich musical context, exposure to music begins in the wombs when pregnant mothers join in the community dance...when infants are then wrapped onto their mother's backs with a cloth and taken into the dancing circle with everyone else." This statement is quoted by Mickey Hart in his book Planet Drum, pp. 88. That was Yaya Diallo's first music and dance lessons. During his early childhood, he was exploring the balafons which were kept in his paternal family. In his native village, Fienso, he was learning Peenyi (Dounou), spiritual balafon, morals, proverbs, and philosophy with his mentor Nangape Kone. Sounkalo Kone and Issa Koroma gave him djembe (daykaylaykay) lessons. Yago Kone was his biology and Moukolo (equivalent of Congo) teacher. In Zangasso his grandfather taught him hand and stick drum techniques. After his death, his grandfather continued to teach him music and wisdom in his dreams. That is the most important part of his musical education. Sotigui Kone was his religious tama (talking) drum teacher. When he was six years old, Yaya Diallo had his first drum sculpted by the blacksmith Nianso Koroma. He formed his first music group with the goals and dreams to impress his grandfather. he felt and was disappointed.
In order to live with Minianka people Yaya Diallo had to have several initiations. He is always interested in the religious and mystical aspects of the music. He learned the music and the instruments which go with each step of the rituals. In different secret societies he was playing the instrument that sustained the rhythm or and tempo.
3.1 Practice time
Listening is the most important tool for learning in oral traditions. As a shepherd, Yaya Diallo was using his body, pieces of wood and stones as musicalt instruments. By tradition he should play flute or sokou (one string violins) but he did not like those instruments which are easily portable. During the day he was listening to the musicians from different villages who were playing for groups of collective farmers to motivate people to work fast. He also listened to birds, insects, and by nights, orchestras of frogs when he was near a small river.
In Sikasso the capitol of balafons, he was in Heaven listening to the finest players in 1960-61. In Bamako, djembe is the main instrument, for six years at the Lycee, he heard great djembe players. As a students at the Lycee, it was not a good thing to listen to traditional music.
3.2 Musical career in Montreal, Canada
When Yaya Diallo quit his job, he met Alama Kanate from Côte d'Ivoire, with two Senegaleses Boubacar Gueye and Moustapha Seck. They founded a band called Djeme-kan.
The group did small performances for weddings and cultural events without good results. The Senegaleses abandoned the group and were replaced by a Congolese guitarist and singer, and Alain Tagny, a dancer from Cameroun. After two successful nights at the National Bibliothèque de Montreal on St. Denis Street Alama Kanate claimed that the group belonged to him. So Djeme-kan was divided in two parts.
Yaya Diallo and Alain Tagny created Cleba, meaning that the sun is shining for everyone, so white people were accepted in the group. That music unit was successful and played for big events such as St. John Baptist Celebration on main stages. In May 1978, the group did a tour in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean outside of Montreal. It was a fiasco. Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Hockey team, was in the finals against the New York Rangers. nobody could compete with this team in Quebec. The most important thing was that in the 1970s, French Canadians were not ready to see white men playing African instruments and white women dancing to African music. When they came back to Montreal, people were not motivated to continue, so they quit the group.
3.3 Hard time in his life
October 1977-February 1978
To survive, Diallo had money from unemployment for ten months. Very broke, he got training to sell Grolier Encyclopedias. He had to knock at doors all day long and by night he met targeted families. In small cities, people were not ready to see a black man walking on the streets in the darkness in their neighborhood. That was a problem. In February, he went to the north of Quebec called Abittibi where the average temperature was -40 degrees Celsius. He had suffered for a week and had sold only two encyclopedias. Back in Montreal, he quit the job.
Yaya Diallo was homeless, jobless, and hopeless in spite of two prophecies. He was dating Helen Alemany, his son Teli Diallo's mother. He was teaching drum classes at the space they had rented for Cleba. He was jamming at La Grande Passe on Ontario Street and Chez Dumas on Emery Street. In Montreal they called him a "chum," meaning people who dream big but are not capable of doing anything great.
At the Centre Monchanin, now Intercultural Institute of Montreal, he started to teach African dance to a group of women. At the end of the project, Diallo was hired to work at the center in 1980. He worked part-time and became a staff member and Treasurer of the board from 1980 to 1987.
While he was working at the Center, he met a multi-billionaire, Madame Dominique de Menil from Houston, Texas. She invited Yaya Diallo to accomplish a difficult mission. On June 20, 1981, she wanted to reward ten people or organizations in the world at her chapel; The Rothko- the Rothko Chapel Rewards in Recognition of commitment to truth and Freedom. For the rituals, Yaya Diallo's recommendations were the best among several options. For each nominee, Yaya Diallo had to play an appropriate beat according to the type of commitment. For example, for Las madres de La Playa de Mayo Buenos Aires, Argentina, he played the rhythm for people who had lost men, women, children. For Warren Robbins, son of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, founder and director of the Museum of African Arts, Washington D.C., who had accomplished a mission impossible, Yaya Diallo played a special music for brave people. When the journalist Zwelakhe Sisulu's name was announced, Diallo played a beat for courage and motivation. Sisulu was also a National President of the Media Worker's Association South Africa, Johannesburg.
In Houston, Warren Robbins was impressed by Yaya Diallo's wisdom and invited him for some events in Washington D.C. Diallo met some leaders of the Black community (today called African Americans) especially the group of African Heritage. he performed at an Evening of Balafon music feature Yaya Diallo and Pascal Milogo at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington on December 27, 1981. This concert was sponsored by the National Museum of Art's African Art program.
He was invited to talk on the radio station, La Voix de l'Amerique hosted by George Collinet. Unfortunately he did not meet with George Collinet who was on vacation. His messages were heard in 250 countries. "Young people, build your own country, there is no room for everybody in the USA. American youth should not be your role models."
To meet Africans living in Washington D.C. he did a Balafon concert at the popular Malian restaurant "The Baobab."
3.4 Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, NY, CMS:
Diallo conducted drum workshops and did some concerts with his group from Montreal. He performed at CMS Summer Festival '81: World music on Sunday July 12 '81 as Yaya Diallo from Mali. People such as John Abercrombie, Karl Beger, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Ingrid, Jack de Johnette, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Dewey Redman had performed at CMS. Diallo was a faculty member from 1981 to its end.
3.5 Introduction to jazz music
Baikida Carrol, a jazz horn player from St. Louis, invited Yaya Diallo to join in one of his two groups to play at Public Theater NY, on Friday November 14, 198?. The first team called Bush Wish included Nana Vasconcellos, Bresil, Yaya Diallo and others. The second team was composed of Julius Hemphill and Antony Davis. Randy Weston appeared both nights.
Even that Yaya Diallo said that he knew nothing about jazz, he felt at home in jam sessions with Baikida Carrol, Julius Hempell, and Antony Davis, and others.
3.6 Dream time
In 1980, Yaya Diallo made his first LP record, produced by Stephen Conroy through his company Onzou Records. The LP release was done at the Art Gallery the same day of the opening of one of the most popular clubs, Izaza in Montreal. With some good musicians of Montreal and two dancers, Yaya Diallo did an excellent performance at L'Improvu on Monday, March 2, 1981, during the second LP release. The media, people wanted to see more from him. From March 31 to April 5, Diallo came back to L'Improvu located at L'Iroquois, Place Jaques Cartier Vieux Montreal. The performances were original and excellent. The phenomenon of Yaya Diallo was born in Montreal. Karl Parent, a journalist of CBC International was amazed by what he heard at L'Improvu and offered to Yaya Diallo the opportunity to make the music of a documentary film. Yaya Diallo did the music of the documentary film Leopold Cedar Senghor, Former President of Senegal. The film was presented at CBC TV on Tuesday, May 1981. (See TV program. Ici Radio-Canada, Vol. 5, no. 22)
After a short time of glory in Montreal, Diallo's music career was going nowhere. He started working part-time at the Intercultural Institute of Montreal while he opened African dance classes at 310 West st. Catherine, moved to Cooper Building on St. Laurent, and finally to Building Dance on Mont-Royal St and Pine Ave at Montreal. He had three classes of 40 students each a week. Meantime he created his band, Kanza, and had time to raise his first son Teli.
In June 1983, Yaya Diallo was invited through the Institute to participate in a symposium at Namur Belgium. That symposium was organized for European scholars and experts in intercultural cooperation by University De La Paix. The questions were: What are unifying myths of the world? Who has the right to define the criteria of good life for the world?
In July, he went back to Namur, Belgium, to assist in an intercultural colloquium organized by 200 non-profit organizations coming from all over the world. After a week of work using six languages, Yaya Diallo was in charge of writing a report in French of the symposium with is old friend Adama Samassekou who was living in Paris, France. Yaya Diallo came back to Montreal with 10 cassettes and did the work by himself.
In Namur, Yaya Diallo had shared a room with Professor Alpha Oumar Konare who became President of Mali for two five-year terms (1992-2002) and was chairperson of the African Union. His friend Adama Samassekou was Minister of Education in Mali. He was Yaya's Diallo's third roommate. Some non-profit organizations did not like Diallo's opinions and his conclusions of the symposium. In September, Yaya Diallo wrote the most controversial and critical article about the international cooperation in French, entitled, La Cooperation est-elle possible? (Is Cooperation Possible?) This article is published in Interculture (October-December 1983, Vol. XVI, No. 4 cahier 81, pp. 9-17).
With a grant from the Ministry of Multiculturalism of Canada, Diallo wrote the Profil Culturel Africain. This document was first published in 1985 by the Intercultural Institute of Montreal. Many teachers, researchers, students, and seekers of exoticism, as well as Africans searching for their roots have had recourse to it. In spite of that relative success, it is completely out of print. In October 2001, it was translated in English as At the Threshold of the African Soul. The Fulani-Minianka Way, Intercultural Issue No. 141. This document is the heart of the book, Healing Drum, African Wisdom Teachings. Diallo's international reputation came from his writings and his name is associated with the Healing Drum, as writing books is his destiny. Diallo said, "I don't want to be associated with a record company."
In 1982, as a musician, Diallo played two weeks at CNE (Canadian National Exhibit) in Toronto. In 1986, he played at the International Exhibit in Vancouver BC, at Folklife, and at Canadian Pavilion. In 1987, he stopped working at the Institute and started to tour to schools with the program made by the former General Governor of Canada, Jeanne Sauve. The same year, he started teaching two courses, Aural training I and II, at Carlton University. Diallo also was one of the first artists of the program made by Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley: "A Change to Give." The organization became MASC, Multiculturalism at Schools and Communities. Diallo worked for MASC from 1988-2004.
Diallo did some performances with his band, Kanze, at the Festival Culture Canada 88, at Ottawa-Hull: more than five festivals Nuits d'Afrique with Ballattou; Festival 1001 Nuits; at Club Soda 1989, 1990, The Spectrum de Montreal.
In 1987, Diallo collaborated with others of so-called French-speaking countries to make the song "Franc Parler" for the Summit of Francophony at Quebec City.
The Healing Drum was published in 1989. The president of Inner Traditions, his wife and his staff came to Montreal to meet the community. He bought food for the people of Balattou, for two nights the kanza played. We had a press conference with The Gazette, La Presse, and Voir. After Montreal the company had planned tours Yaya Diallo. He went to bookstores and Universities, he signed books and did lectures all over the United States. Mickey Hart, the drummer of the Grateful Dead, wrote his two books, he has quoted Diallo's work several times in each book and gave his opinion on how good he thought The Healing Drum was. The phenomenon of The Healing Drum was born. For several years Diallo did workshops, lectures and debates. The World Music Institute contacted him, he became a member of the artists they manage. They booked him everywhere they could as a solo artist. In 1993 they created the African Troubadours, and they too booked shows everywhere. Other people like Everyone's Drumming with Dounoukan, Relaxation Company, Dombaa Folee had produced Diallo's music, and organized the promotion of the products.
_"Schools Kick off Black History Month." Buckner Elementary School. The Courier Journal, Neighborhoods, February 6, 2002, by Tonia Holbrook _Drumming in the New MIllenium. At the Pyramids of Egypt. West African Yaya Diallo Mali. December 6, 1999. _"Champ meeting, Former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali Greeted Drummer Yaya Diallo at Dunbar Community Center in Lexington, KY." February 1995. The Courier Journal. _"Yaya Diallo Tells African Stories at Yukon Storytelling Festival 1994," June 29, 1994, The Yukon News. p. 19. _"African Drumer Brings Music to Students." Yaya Diallo works with Boyd County Middle School students. He will be at school for several days as artist in residence. The Daily Independent, Ashland, KY. January 23, 2002. pp. 1 and 12, by Beth Goins. _"Yaya Diallo Performed at the Student Center as a Part of Celebrating Diversity"; Kentucky Kernel, University of Kentucky, Lexington. February 27, 1992. _African Dancing and Drumming. When Yaya Diallo plays, the entire body hears. Rowe Camp and Conference Center, Rowe Mass. No 12-14, 1999. _One Thunder. Yaya Diallo and 80 drummers from all over the world. World Trade Organization at Singapore. December 13, 1996. pp. 1 and 12. Program: Television Corporation of Singapore. _Music for People. Workshops in Music Making, Drumming, and Dancing. Featuring David Darling, Yaya Diallo, Glen Velez, Uleikha. October 4-5, 1995. Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut. _Workshops. Yaya Diallo West African Drumming Performances and Workshops. Multiculturalism at School and Communities. MASC. Guest Artist and Artist in Residence for 12 years (see brochure 2003-04, p. 15) _World Music Institute presents. A world of percussion featuring Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Nana Vasconcelos, Yaya Diallo. June 6, at Symphony Space Broadway and 95th St. NYC, NY. _Creative Music Studio. Summer Festivals 81. Yaya Diallo from Mali. People as JOhn Abercrombie, Karl Beger, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Ingrid, Jack de Johnette, Pat Metheny had performed at the same festivals. _Yukon Storytelling Festival 1994. Mainstage Performance; The Heart of the Festival: Why will say, yes, yes. Yaya Diallo and Jan Andrews. This was offered at two levels. Ages 5-7, and ages 8 and up. _African Family Festival at the Louisville Zoo. May 29-31, 1999. Don't miss the festival featuring Yaya Diallo in concert May 31, 5pm. _African Troubadours featuring Hassan Hakmoun, James Makubuya, Yaya Diallo. Traditional music of Morocco, Uganda, Mali, sponsored by the World Music Institute. Sterling and Francine; Clark Art Institute Williamstown Mass. www.clarkwilliams.edu. _World Music Institute. African Troubadours, Hassan Hakmoun, James Makubuya, Foday Musa Suso, Yaya Diallo, had its debut as a touring unit during African American History month in 1994. The four sites in California including Humbold State University, Arcadia, University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California San Diego; as well as Colorado State University, Fort Collings. _A World of Percussion: Sat. June 8, 1995. Featuring Don Cherry, Glen Velez, Foday Musa Suso, Adam Rudolph, Michel MerHej, Hanna MerHej, Yaya Diallo, Ayib Dieng and Zakir Hussain at Symphony Space, NYC, NY info. World Music Institute NYC, NY. _An Evening of Balafon Music Featuring Yaya Diallo and Pascal Millogo at the Smithsonian Museum Washington DC. Sunday, December 27, 1981. Evening sponsored by National Museum of African Art Program. _Best Bets. World Beat. Yaya Diallo teams up with three other leading African musicians to form African Troubadors. Museum of civilization hosts top African Musicians on Friday, January 31, 1997, Canada. _Troubadours Teach Culture. Black HIstory month starts with music. African Troubadours at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The concert features Hassan Hakmoun, James Makubuya, Adam Rudolph, Vieux Diop. Another one of the key elements of the group is Mali's Yaya Diallo, who was in town yesterday to conduct workshops at a couple of schools before the big show. The Ottawa Sun, Vol. 9, No. 61. Ottawa Friday. January 31, 1997. By Ric Overall. Canada. Drumming: Dancing is the Other Healing Art. In Yaya Diallo's Tradition, music is a remedy for psychological and physical problems. From page B1 Citilighte Thursday January 30, 1997, Ottawa. Canada. _Lexington Wellness Center. Percussion with Passion. African master drums up enthusiasm. Yaya Diallo demonstrated some of the finer points of African drumming in a workshop at the Lexington Wellness Center. Drumming is more than the rhythm to the Mali native. See Drumming B3, Local News, 23, 1997 Lexington, KY. _Mirror: Books Rhythm of life. The Healing Drum African Wisdom teachings. By his account, Yaya Diallo was born in foolish Union. Mirror Montreal Canada. August 16-23, 1990 Vol. 6, p. 27 By Andrew Jones. _Don't try to impress Yaya Diallo Ginaw Bone Indian. Mali drummer Yaya Diallo teslls with one beat of the drum what level of drummer he is teaching. The Harold-Times, Vol. 115, no. 75. Bloomington, Indiana. By Kathleen Mills. _NY Open Center NYC, NY. Yaya Diallo African Drumming and Dance from Mali. Saturday and Sunday July 28 and 29 pg. 48 Yaya Concert p. 50. _Harrison Festival of the Arts. July 21, 1988 Yaya Diallo, The people who attended your workshops were very pleased, and the afternoon concert was great. It was definitely one of the highlights. Phyllis Wilson, Executive Director. Hot Springs, BC, Canada. _The Healing Drum with Yaya Diallo Concert: Sounds of Africa. December 19, 1999. Drumming, Dance, and Singing workshops December 20-22, 1999. Concert and Dance with Yaya Diallo and company December 23, 1999. Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp. Val Morin Quebec Canada. _Omega Institute. Celebrating 25 years, At the threshold of the African soul, Village Voice. By Yaya Diallo. Drum and Dance Workshops and Concert. July 22-26, pp. 56. Omega May-October 2002 Rhenebeck, NY. _Village Awards March 27, 2004 Community Service/Arts, Yaya Diallo; The Healing Drum by the Godfather of Village Awards, Councilman George Unseld (6th District) Louisville, KY. _Mike's Spicks. Yaya Diallo leads workshops in West African drum and dance in Woodstock NY. Roots of Rhythm: Get 50-60 men and women together, each thumping a drum, led by a master whose chops and knowledge go all the way back to the roots of rhythm and you've got the resonance of heaven, the apotheosis of good vibrations. That's what any serious percussionist or student of African dance can expect this weekend as Yaya Diallo returns to the Woodstock to conduct another series of workshops. By David Arneir a Woodstock pianist and percussionist, Yaya's Balafon student. _World Music Institute Features African Troubadours: Hassan Hakmoun, James Makubuya, Musa Foday Suso, Yaya Diallo at Town Hall NYC, NY. June 1996. _He's got the beat. Glengarry students treated to some African charisma. Yaya Diallo introduced his drums to Iona Academy on March 8, Martintown Public School on March 9, and to Williamstown Public School, and Char-Lin District High School March. _Sivananda Yogalife. Winter 2000. Millennium World Peace Pilgrimage. The Peace MIssion continues into the 21st Century. African Music and Dance by Yaya Diallo, p. 9. _Sivananda Millennium World Peace Pilgrimage. London, England. October 25-30, 1999. Featuring Yaya Diallo, Concerts, Drumming and Dance Workshop. Sivananda Yoga Centre. London, England. _Sivananda Millennium World Peace Pilgrimage. At Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. Paradise Island, The Bahamas. Featuring Yaya Diallo: Concerts, Drumming and Dance Workshop. From December 25, 1999-January 1, 2000. _American Orf-Schulwork Association, 2003. National Conference at Louisville, KY. Nov. 12-16, 2003. Three events with master drummer Yaya Diallo from Mali. _The last concert and workshop sponsored by World Music Institute for African Troubadours including Yaya Diallo was on Feb. 25 at the U.C. San Diego; year 2000. _1988, The two founders of MASC, Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley, had organized a big festival called "Culture Canada" at Park Lauier Located at Hull Quebec. Like other people working for MASC, Diallo was asked to offer his workshop "Music without Money." With Stones, pieces of wood, small pipelines, bamboo sticks, children learned how to make quickly the instruments, and how to play together as an orchestra. The Queen Mother Elisabeth II of England in visit in Canada wanted to see the workshops made by people from different cultures. The Queen accompanied by the Prime Minister of Canada, Bryan Mulroney arrived to Yaya Diallo workshop, she was happy to see how one could make children happy with stones, woods.... She hanged her hand to shake Diallo's hand, Diallo did not understand, the cameras took the image of the Queen's hands hanging in the air. That was the embarrassing part. Back to Montreal, Diallo's friends teased him, are you a separatist French Canadian. The RCMP did a background check of all participants. They did the something with children's parents before they chose them. For a week Diallo did workshops and shows on small stages. The last day there was the big show where ten groups from different cultures had to play one piece of music together. Diallo's band was composed of musicians from Haiti. _1987-89, in 1987 Yaya Diallo started teaching three classes enroll training I and II at Carleton University in Ottawa, meantime he was doing tours at several schools in Ontario, Ottawa region, and in Quebec Outtaouais. While he was working with Mapou Ginin a local music and dance group from Haiti, living in Montreal. In December 1988, he combined his group Kanza to make the first show ever by a local world music group living in Montreal. At Club Sods of Montreal. The door of club Soda was closed to the so-called world beat musicians. The show was great, so there were no excuses to keep the door closed to foreign music Fanta Kone from Guadaloupe, Delphin Pandoue from Cote d' Ivoire, and Josiane Antourel from Martinique three female dancers approached Yaya Diallo to make some performances. After six months of hard work, Diallo combined the three professional dancers with his band Kanza to make a comeback show in the Club Soda. The show was phenomenal. Diallo had the challenge to open one more Closed door, the spectrum de Montreal. The mission was accomplished; the door was opened for local world beat music. To get in, each bad had to say if you could open the door to Yaya Diallo, you should open it for everyone. In August 1989, Josian Antoural invited Yaya Diallo to the "Festival Village Marin." Le Festival de la me (Festival of the Sea). Several Caribbean Islands came to celebrate the Caribbean Sea. Yaya Diallo said it was one of the best times in my life. Diallo was surprised to find out that the beat that he was playing over and over again with his band in Fienso, Mali was the most popular beat in Martinique. Diallo's song "Mouwa" was a hit in Martinique. During each performance, there were more than five encores. For two weeks Diallo played and listened to unknown top musicians of Caribbean Sea. _Centre College. Danville, KY. African voices festival celebrates African and African-American culture. Events include and evening of music from Mali by Yaya Diallo, a musician and author. He will do two workshops, drumming and dance in Vahikamp Theater and a concert of January 14. Diallo will also talk and perform at a program titled "The Healing Drum African Wisdom Teachings". Center News, January 6, 2011, Kathy Nelsen.
1985 At the Threshold of the African Soul: The Fulani-Minianka Way / A Village Voice,
A Journal published by the Intercultural Center of Montreal,
1989 The Healing Drum: African Wisdom Teachings (Destiny Books),
2001 Reprint journal At the Threshold of the African Soul,
Articles and reviews:
Introduction to Djembe Drum Music Articles,
Bellarmine Article About Yaya Diallo,
From Africa to the World, Yaya Diallo Unleashes His Music,
The History of African Music,
The Meaning of Music,
Effects of Sound,
The Destruction of African Culture,
Djembe Drum Music,
The Spiritual Significance of Music,
Live at Club Soda Reviews,
The Healing Drum Book Reviews,
The Healing Drum CD Reviews,
The Truth About The Healing Drum,
La cooperation est-elle possible?,
Killing The Ego (Yoga Life),
1986--Awarded by the Commissioner General of Section for Canada, recognizing his services rendered to the Canada Pavilion during the 1986 World Exposition Vancouver, British Columbia.,
2005--Entertainer of the Year, awarded by the African People's Intercontinental Awards.,
2008--Mosaic Award, Louisville, KY.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license