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Yaya Diallo, Percussionist


Yaya Diallo Yaya Diallo

Born in Mali, West Africa and a member of the Minianka (Bamana) tribe, Yaya Diallo was raised in a culture that works, worships, lives, and breathes to the beat of the drum. An instrument for transmitting traditional knowledge among the Minianka, the drum is the focal point of Yaya’s life story and his link—through the universal medium of music—with the Western world. In the tradition of the Minianka, music is a remedy for both physical and psychological imbalances, harmonizing the forces of the visible and invisible worlds.

Yaya was trained on balafon and hand drums by his grandfather and by his spiritual mentor, Nangape. Although he now lives in Louisville and teaches and performs internationally, he returns frequently to his home in Mali to renew his ties with the elders. Seeing the teachings he grew up with gradually being lost to Westernization in his native country, he encourages the youth of his village to take pride in their cultural heritage.


Program 618

“The Junkman,” a Louisville native who teaches students to make music with found objects; Louisville poet Wanda Johnson-Hall; and Yaya Diallo, a Bellarmine University professor who is an internationally known master drummer. (#618)

Program 633

The Junkman, a Louisville native who teaches students to make music from found objects; Louisville poet Wanda Johnson-Hall; and Yaya Diallo, a Bellarmine University professor who is an internationally known master drummer. (#633)

Program 804

Nature photographer Tom Myers, a visit to Madison County’s Bybee Pottery, and music by West African percussionist Yaya Diallo and Louisville jazz saxophonist Ochion Jewell. (#804)





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