Imme - Alpha Yaya Diallo
Global music artists are by nature citizens of the world so it should come as no surprise that one of the West Africa’s finest guitar players is a longtime resident of Vancouver on Canada's western shores. Through his three-time Juno Award-winning career he has picked up musical influences from around Africa and throughout the world. Now, for his sixth album, he’s collaborated with innovative Canadian violinist and prairie boy, Jesse Zubot, who with Steve Dawson, coconspirator/ co-creator of a nu-roots style called Strang, has taken fiddle music to a whole 'nother dimension. Together, Alpha and Jesse have forged a lush new sound that’s not just West African but definably west coast. The new album is called Immé, a Foula word that means get up (or rise up), a call to people to be at the ready for what ever nature, political or economic tides may throw our way. Readers at worldbeatcanada.com are among few who may know that aside from being a virtuosic picker, Alpha is a man of science with a university diploma in plant genetics. The environment and socio-economics touch his consciousness and ours in the album's crowning achievement, an English-language epic based on poetry by environmental advocate Sanjay Khanna. Alpha's vocal refrain soars over thick textures of African rhythm and Celtic counter-melody provided by Jesse. Of special note is the kit drumming of Cuban pounder Gilberto Moreaux, a delight to watch on stage and hear on record. The lushness of the arrangements ultimately brings out Immé's single flaw, a tendency for the mix to washout definition between the instruments. I can't wait for the Afro Celt Sound System remix!