Yaya Diallo | Live at Club Soda

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Live at Club Soda

by Yaya Diallo

TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY WEST AFRICAN MUSIC -An outpouring of traditional African music in the upbeat Kanza style transposes Occidental instruments including saxophone, electric violin, bass, guitar and drum kit along with the traditional djembe.
Genre: World: African
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Samba the Trucker
5:41 $2.99
2. Sewa Nimo
11:21 $2.99
3. Gifono
4:45 $2.99
4. Chechon
3:05 $2.99
5. Forgeron
6:25 $2.99
6. Nakan
7:30 $2.99
7. Teli
12:45 $2.99
8. Makanou
4:44 $3.93
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Honorable Mention "Best World Music of 2003"
"hypnotic dance music, with one foot planted in village music, the other kicking toward jazz, and funk"
- World Music Director, KAOS-FM Spin the Globe radio host Scott Stevens

See Yaya Diallo's albums DOUNOUKAN and NANGAPE on sidebar.

"LIVE AT CLUB SODA" Released Nov. 2003

"Yaya Diallo goes electric on 'Live at Club Soda' with his band Kanza adding guitar, bass, drum set sax, violin, backup singers, and more. The result is hypnotic dance music with one foot planted in village music, the other kicking toward jazz and funk. ... While it may sound like a break from his healing-orientated traditional albums, the same depth of meaning pervades this CD. ... Live at Club Soda is a fine example of traditional music updated."
- Scott Stevens, World Music Director, KAOS-FM, Olympia, WA

"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/Promoter/Musician, Berlin, Germany, Radio show programmer "Outlaw for Peace."

"This is great, infectious music ... lively and smart spiritual grooves." ... "Nice work on the live disc. Way to go. Infectious and soulful."
- Don Campau, Radio show host "No Pidgeonholes," KKUP, Cupertino, CA


Yaya Diallo's Live at Club Soda album with his band KANZA takes a dramatic shift from his earlier albums, Nangapé, The Healing Drum, Dounoukan and Dombáa Folee by transposing traditional village music to Occidental instruments. Yaya Diallo's innovative music gives solo voice to all the instruments within an African rhythmic structure. This music recorded live at Montreal's Club Soda February 19, 1989 is reminiscent of 1950's rock and roll, blues and jazz. Does this new direction mean Yaya has abandoned traditional music. Not at all, Kanza music was conceived as a means of maintaining interest in traditional music.

Albums by YAYA DIALLO on ONZOU RECORDS include:

Updated traditional West African music transposed to Western instruments. Innovative and contemporary.

NANGAPE, 1980, reissue 2002
Yaya Diallo's classic instrumental album of African drumming, balafon and flute music. Digitally remastered for CD.

Distributed by CD Baby


Kanza is a very new concept within the Miniankala musical culture in the region west of the city of Koutiala. This kind of music is a fusion of the past and the present. It opens the door to the future.

"Music, in addition to being an art, remains a stimulus for work. It is everywhere in work. Rhythmic music (drumming) stirs the soul of man. The human being moves with the rhythm. To help a farmer work fast, he needs a drummer who accompanies him. Music is the "boss" in Africa; it regulates the rhythm of work. In a work group, one needs a musician; he stirs lazy people, interrupts conversations during work. One needs a type of music for each category of workers. The shepherd who pastures his flock all day plays a flute or singled-stringed guitar. He follows the rhythm of the flock. Work [which is] physical requires rhythmic music; another [kind] which is long and exacting requires melodies. The inverse can distract or disturb. Work and partying are mixed."
Source: Yaya Diallo, "At the Threshold of the African Soul," INTERculture 141, (October 2001): 34.

To motivate, the musician has to sing magic songs, to say exciting words to each worker. In Mali, the motivating words are called: "Mai sonyi" in Mininaka and "Fassan" in Bambara.

What about the new generation?

The professions and the social values change. It is more and more difficult to motivate the young people today with ancestral songs. It is time to create a new style of music that can reconcile the elders and the young people. In the 50's, people from the villages of Djélé, N'Tosso and Nampropéla created the concept of KANZA. Groups of workers and farmers decided to mix the ancestral music with the music of young people.

New musical ensembles were born in Miniankala. Samba the apprentice trucker is a good examble of this new era. To be a trucker is a new profession for us in Africa, so that needs a new music.

So, what's new?

The new elements of Kanza are:
- The speed of the music, you have to play fast.
- The mix of different kinds of sounds
- The dance is for everyone, no age, no gender divisions.
- More room for creativity and improvisation, but one must respect the basic foundations of the music: no folly, no madness.

The instruments used by the ensemble of Kanza are:
- 2 Balafons (mother and child)
- 2 Bafokos (mother and child)
- 1 Tama (Talking drum).
- 1 N'Pingouéré (Dounou) with a bell.
- 1 Haranga
- 2 lead vocalists
- The ensemble of all the dancers who dance in the circle respond to the leaders. The songs don't have any harmony. Everyone can sing.

Based on the basic principles of Kanza, I transposed the traditional music to western instruments. The fact that I am a Foula led me to choose the violin and the saxophone to play the solo parts. The other instruments are: one or two electric guitars, bass guitar, drum set, tama, bafoko, two djembes and one dounouba. The mix of these instruments gives a unique sound. My Chinese friend Dr. Han said, "Yaya, you are a Taoist; your music sounds like the music of eastern China." I laughed and said, "That's good news, I can be the richest man in the world. I need to sell one CD for 1 dollar apiece to each Chinese and I will be a billionaire."

To conclude, "Kanza" is the past, the present and the future at the same time.

The Song Titles:

1. Samba the Trucker: This music addresses the coarse behavior of the apprentice truckers. The song tells of a driver who puts his hand on the ladies' scarves. As these scarves are used to hold a woman's wealth they are fastened in supposedly secure places. Being blind in one eye while having problems with the other adds to his difficulties. When he overturns his truck in a ditch his cowardice controls him as he runs away. "Samba" is a popular first name in West Africa.

2. Sewa Nimo: The song talks about jealousy, stupid hatred and cupidity which are a scourge in the world today. The singer finds his inner exile and peace through the Drums and the Balafons. Thinking about the most beautiful birds: Tiori and Kossara living in Miniankala, the singer wishes to obtain the inner beauty like the plumages of these divine creatures.

3. Gifono: We gave this title to this music to honor Gifono Koné, one of the founders of the concept Kanza. Traditionally the song talks about a resourceful person. There is not only one-way to do things. "The bird doesn't have milk for the children; but, she finds a way to feed them." One more proverb can help us to understand the philosophy behind the song. "If the crocodile decides to buy trousers (long pants), don't ask what he will do with his tail. He knows what he is doing. Don't worry too much about people's problems.

4. Chechon (The Skunk): This song is a children's lullaby. We don't have this animal in Africa, but we have his relative that we call "Chechon." Nobody likes the skunk, but he loves himself. There are love stories between skunks. The skunk mom loves her children, but the young children learned to hate themselves. The mom skunk says, "The children are depressed. They always cry; what can I do? The father responds, "Children! Stop crying, you have to be proud of yourselves. It doesn't matter who you are; the world belongs to everyone. All the flowers in nature can't be roses. "

5. Forgeron (The Blacksmith): This song is about the praises of the blacksmith. He is the man of knowledge, master of fire, water, metal and wood. He is also the sorcerer initiator of the Komo (male secret society).

6. Nakan: Here we talk about domestic violence. The crazy lover tries everything to re-conquer his lost love. The woman says to her obstinate lover, "If I say I don't love you, it's not a reason to keep me as a hostage, to make my life miserable or to kill me.

7. Teli:This is the call for patriotism. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are, don't forget your roots, your identity and your country. In the village we call this kind of music N'Togo. It doesn't need musical instruments. I call this song Téli because my son's name is Téli Diallo.

8. Makanou: This is about infinite love. I have the blues because love exists. I am sick; the name of the disease is love. I am sad. That is love's fault. I am stressed and depressed because I love love. ... etc. Without this calamity people call love I would be happy.

Song titles:

1. Samba The Trucker 5:41
2. Sewa Nimo 11:21
3. Gifono 4:45
4. Chechon (The Skunk) 3:05
5. Forgeron ( The Blacksmith) 6:25
6. Nakan 7:30
7. Teli 12:45
8. Makanou 4:44

Electric Guitar: Lionel Corcos
Bass Guitar: Eval Manigat
Drum Set: André Raymond
Saxophone: Jody Golick
Electric Violin: Joel Zifkin
Dounou: Michel Bonneau
Vocalists: Fanta Koné, Delphine Pandoué, Josiane Antourel
Djembé, Bafoko and Lead Vocals: Yaya Diallo
Tape Restoration and Mastering: Evan Rabby at Companyzero.ca
All arrangements are by Yaya Diallo.

All compositions are by Yaya Diallo except Samba The Trucker, Chechon and Makanou which are part of the Yaya Diallo's musical heritage within his tribal culture.

Information on Yaya Diallo's "HEALING DRUM TOUR" to Mali, Workshops, Books, Articles & Music is available in the community forum linked on the Yaya Diallo website (see sidebar).

Stephen Conroy, Onzou Records Producer
Email: zzzstephen@yahoo.com
Tel: 514-485-0728



to write a review


Interesting New Take on Yaya Standards!
I like the fusion of the traditional songs with the Afro-Pop sound of the stage band. The first two were easily recognizable songs from Dounoukan, which I have an autographed copy (Ee Ni Chee, Yaya!) The reason why I did not give it 5 stars was because of the sometimes abrupt ending of at least one song just as the musicians were about to play some truly pyrotechnic solos. Nonetheless this CD along with The Healing Drum (both book & CD) are welcome additions to my world music collection. Thank You CD Baby!!


As the second person to file a review.
I can say that this got my ya-yas out, and no one else can. So there.