Yaya Diallo | Dounoukan

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World: African World: African- West Moods: Featuring Drums
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by Yaya Diallo

YAYA DIALLO brings the experience of traditional village music with drumming, songs and more. A rare album with only a few copies left before the physical edition is sold out.
Genre: World: African
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moukolo / Sofadon
2:45 album only
2. Lamban For Mrs. Diallo
3:42 album only
3. Bara / Dounouba
3:10 album only
4. Sewa
4:26 album only
5. Iye Iye / Defoulment
2:59 album only
6. Noumou Toun Toun / Blacksmith
3:33 album only
7. Mouwa
5:13 album only
8. Hooro / Don
2:29 album only
9. Samba / Truck Driver
3:58 album only
10. Wassalou
3:09 album only
11. Outeme
4:05 album only
12. Djomon / Dialogue Of Drums
5:25 album only


Album Notes

"... DOUNOUKAN is a wonderful buffet of West African rhythms from a master drummer. ... Diallo's lifetime of musical experience make this CD well worth having for fans of African percussion."
Scott Allan Stevens, Host/Producer of Spin the Globe on KAOS Olympia Community Radio, Olympia, WA, May 2003.

Yaya Diallo performs the rhythms of ceremonial, ritual and daily living in traditional West African village life on his album DOUNOUKAN. With drumming that is almost sparse at times and voice that leaves expected conventions behind DOUNOUKAN proffers an experience in West African community.

DOUNOUKAN is Yaya Diallo's third album released in 1995. Out of circulation for several years, DOUNOUKN is again available through Onzou Records in its original CD packaging.


Yaya Diallo: Djembé, Dounouba, Tama, Balafon, Vibraphon, Bara and Lead Vocals
Daniel Bellegarde: Djembé, and Congas
Sylvain Leroux: Flute
Kwabena Owusu: Dounouba, Conga and Tiékeré
Stuart Paton: Djembé and Congas
Aviva Vogel: Djembé and Congas
Backup Vocals: Date Frend, Nathaniel Hall, Sylvain Leroux and Kwabena Owusu

YAYA DIALLO was born in the village of Fienso, West Africa. He is a member of the Minianka tribe where music is an aspect of every part of life. Work, worship, celebration, life and death are all parts of his culture in which drumming is an integral part.

He believes drumming also to be a remedy for psychological and physical maladies. This is expressed in his book The Healing Drum

Yaya Diallo presently teaches workshops and performs throughout North America bringing his traditional knowledge to Western culture. His recordings include NANGAPE, 1980 LP; compilation CD by CBC; CBC cinema studio recording Senghor, 1982; THE HEALING DRUM, 1990; DOUNOUKAN, 1995; DOMBAA FOLEE, 1998; NANGAPE on CD, reissued in 2002 and LIVE AT CLUB SODA.

NEWS AND REVIEWS on the artist Yaya Diallo, his music, books and articles is available on the Yaya Diallo community forum, http://yayadiallo.proboards20.com


1. Moukolo/Sofadon

This is a dance for captives, not slaves, but those who have lost a war. Traditionally the conquered are taken to the winners' village where they work. Each year the captives organize a dance to intimidate their masters. With the stopping of tribal wars, this dance now exists only in the theater.

2. Lamban for Mrs. Diallo

This music is played by the Griots for Griots, also known as Djellis. They say Allah did a good thing in creating the status of Djelli. Not being a Djelli myself, I dedicate this music to my wife who adores it.

3. Hara/Dounouba

Bara means gourd. In this case a large calabash is cut open with a hole that is covered with goatskin which gives a muted sound when played. This music is for great occasions. The oldest dancer takes the lead and is followed by order of age. The entire proceeding ends up in two circles, one for men, the other for the women. When the older people sit down, the rhythm changes with the entry of the young boys and girls. On this recording, I transposed the music for djemés and dounoubas. This is very rare, in fact an innovation.

4. Sewa

This music is sung in honor of the elders. Each time an old person dies among the Minianka, there is a celebration in recognition of the support this elder gave to the community and the tolerance he or she showed.

5. Iye Iye/Defoulment

At the Harvest each year we play music and then dance. The dance lasts all night when the harvest is good, but is short when the harvest is bad.

6. NoumouTounToun/Blacksmith

The title of this song means blacksmith. This music accompanies them during their different tasks. The music and dance are expressed in three phases.

7. Mouwa

This music accompanies workers in the fields to encourage the lazy ones to work energetically. Each person needs to take care of his or her responsibilities. Being a good human being means not being a headache to one's family, one's community, and humanity in general. The music gets the workers moving, first with strength, then with speed. A sudden stop indicates a rest. The workers sing and then return to work. When we dance to this music, it is a perfect example of immediate communication between dancers and musicians. The arrangement is based in humility because the body's appearance no longer matters in this context. It is so hot while we are laboring to produce food that sustains our lives, tha everyone works naked.

8. Hooro/Don

In the Minianka language, Hooro meand dance and everyone joins in after a hard days work.

9. Samba/Truckdriver

This is a persons first name. In Africa each profession has it's own music and dance. Therefor in the twentieth century, music has been created for such professions as a truckdriver.

10. Wassalou

This is a region of land between Guinea and Mali. The popular djembé music for this region is Sogoni-kon, which means the tail of a small animal. This music is played for many celebrations such as weddings, circumcision, harvest and for pleasure. It is very popular with women because it allows them to display their vocal talents.

11. Outeme

This is another name for Fienso, my home village in Mali. In my neighborhood, called Outekan or Outeme, people who live alone love this music. While life becomes impossible without water, without love it becomes hell. This piece is dedicated to all those who suffer from lovesickness.

12. Djomon/Dialogue of Drums

Djomon means dialogue. This music is made for the dialogue among the drums. In Africa we say the big drum has it's voice as does the small drum. In addition to being a rhythmic instrument, the drum can also be used melodically. This piece is to pay homage to my father and my ancestors.


NANGAPE: Yaya Diallo's classic 1980 instrumental album of African drumming, balafon and flute music.

LIVE AT CLUB SODA: New Release November, 2003, http://www.cdbaby.com/yayadiallo3

"hypnotic dance music, with one foot planted in village music, the other kicking toward jazz and funk"
- Scott Stevens, World Music Director, KAOS-FM, Olympia, WA

"Many thanks!..I really know many african sounds .. from very traditional to high-life..to afro-rock to whatever..this KANZA sound/concept is DIFFERENT! .. very cool .. YES it rocks!! ... GREAT music!!"
- Lord Litter, DJ, Music Pormoter, Musician, Berlin, Germany

ONZOU RECORDS - music from traditional West African village life - a healing arts treasure from the Minianka people of West Africa.

Distributed by CD Baby

Contact Person:
Stephen Conroy, Onzou Records Producer
Email: zzzstephen@yahoo.com
Tel: 514-485-0708



to write a review

should have bought years ago when I first heard of him.
although the CD is old I never actually heard an entire collection of the artist's music. Suffice to say it inspired me to get another (of course off CD Baby). Making up for lost time.

Dan E.

Put it on, turn it up, and dance.
If you don't own any of Yaya Diallo's CD's then get this one, or all of them. This is one of my favorite CD's of his as it's got fifteen more years of experience than when he released his first CD which was also very good. This is traditional West African music with djembe, balafone, conga, flute, doundouns, vocals, etc. but it is more "real" to the music of the village than some of the touring ballet style groups out there. This one has more vigorous drumming than some of his previous work but also has some of the mellower style songs as well making it a perfect choice for people new to his music. The CD also contains liner notes for all of the songs. Put it on, turn it up, and dance.