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Alpha Yaya Diallo brings deep African grooves to Boundary Bay

Singer-guitarist's music is steady and danceable

Guinean guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo will be bringing his wealth of skill and experience to Bellingham for a Thursday
Guinean guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo will be bringing his wealth of skill and experience to Bellingham for a Thursday
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

By the time guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo finished school in his home country of Guinea, he spoke five languages and was already an in-demand guitar player. 

Much of his style was based on finding ways to transfer the melodic and rhythmic patterns of instruments such as the ngoni, the balafon or the kora onto guitar. Eventually, he moved to Europe and joined a group called Fatala, which was a part of Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. 

After a few years of touring and recording with them, he moved to Vancouver in 1991 and put a group of his own together. Since then he’s been one of the treasures of the West African music scene in North America, recording eight albums, winning three Juno awards and touring extensively. On Thursday, Sept. 7, he is bringing that wealth of skill and experience to the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery for what should be a phenomenal show. 

His music layers hypnotic acoustic guitar melodies over a lively bed of percussion and bass. On top of all that he adds lovely vocal melodies. The grooves are steady and danceable without ever getting frenetic. His most recent album, “Doye Doye,” incorporates more political themes than most of his previous work. (Of course, you’d have to speak several languages to get the full picture of everything he’s singing about.) 

Thursday nights at Boundary have been hopping all summer, so you might want to get there early to snag a seat or a prime spot on the dance floor. We’re pretty fortunate to have someone with this sort of talent right in the neighborhood, so to speak, so take advantage of the opportunity to hear some great music in a style that you won’t hear anywhere else. 

The event at Boundary is also a party to celebrate the hard work of all the volunteers who helped make the Subdued Stringband Jamboree happen, so I’ll just take a moment to do the same. That’s a very smoothly run event, thanks in large part to all the volunteers. So cheers to them, and to all the other volunteers and nonprofits that make big events happen around here.

The Bellingham Celtic Festival is once again going to be taking over downtown. The schedule was just announced for the event, which takes place Sept. 21–24. Ticketed concerts are mostly at The Blue Room this time around, with Boundary Bay and Honey Moon hosting the bulk of the free concerts. Most of the workshops are at the New Prospect Theatre, The Blue Room or Presence Studios. Out-of-town headliners include the Scottish virtuosos of Talisk, the Celtic/EDM fusion of Ramblxr, and the intricately arranged quadruple fiddles of Scottish Fish. Check its website for the full schedule because there’s a lot to take in. (Full disclosure: I’m playing at this with the Moving Hats.)

I’ve got two notable local releases to tell you about that couldn’t be more different. First, Proud Failures dropped their new album of jet-fueled punk rock. “The Show Must Go Wrong” blazes through seven tracks in 18 minutes, with shout-along choruses and lots of guests to keep it unpredictable. There’s even a bit of ska. They’re also headed out on a big tour all the way to South Dakota and back.

The Unknowns also have a new EP coming out. “Uninvited” is due out Friday, Sept. 15, but the first single, “Stay Down Kat,” is out now. It’s got their signature blend of jazz, blues and pop, with a slinky groove, elaborate three-part harmonies and some cool guest saxophone by the horn players from Nuages. 



JESSE’S PICKS

Jerry Steinhilber Trio
6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, Lightcatcher Building courtyard
As outdoor music starts to wind down, you’ve only got a few more chances to see jazz in the beautiful courtyard of the Lightcatcher Building. Seize the day by catching the Jerry Steinhilber Trio there on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The Shindellas
8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, The Shakedown
The Shindellas are a vocal trio out of Nashville that blends influences spanning the last century of “girl group” music, including pop, gospel, R&B and soul. They bring their powerful harmonies and immaculately choreographed performances to The Shakedown on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Las Cafeteras and QUITA PENAS
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, Wild Buffalo
Las Cafeteras perform the traditional folk music of the Mexican state of Veracruz, known as son jarocho, with a few modern twists. QUITA PENAS do a more electric and eclectic take on Afro-Latin dance music. Expect the dance floor to be hopping when they both perform at the Wild Buffalo on Friday, Sept. 8.

photo  QUITA PENAS, known for its electric and eclectic take on Afro-Latin dance music, will perform at the Wild Buffalo on Friday, Sept. 8. (Photo courtesy of QUITA PENAS)  

Chris Pierce
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, Mount Baker Theatre 
Blues and folk lovers won’t want to miss the powerful voice and original style of Chris Pierce. He manages to combine traditional-sounding blues guitar and harmonica with contemporary lyrical themes and then throws in just a hint of early Bob Dylan in there as well. He’s in the Walton Theatre at the Mount Baker Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9.


LIVE MUSIC LISTINGS

Tuesday, Aug. 29

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Barkley Village: 6 p.m., GrooveBot (R&B/funk covers)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open-jam night)
  • Boundary: 3 p.m., Out of the Ashes, 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., The Elevator Club (hip-hop)
  • Ranch Room: 9 p.m., Michael Dayvid

Wednesday, Aug. 30

  • Bar Cicotti: 6 p.m., Ben Starner, Philip Nakarno (jazz)
  • Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Open Mic/Jam
  • Boundary: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
  • FireHouse: 6:30 p.m., Connections Jazz Series ft. Christian Casolary, Mike Allen, Miles Black, Jeff Johnson
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Pension King and the Dependents (acoustic rock covers)
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Bit Brigade, Shotty (video game soundtracks)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m. Badd Dogg Blues Society

Thursday, Aug. 31

  • Barkley Village Green: noon, Resin & Reed (Celtic)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (funk/jazz)
  • Boundary: 5 p.m., Robert Sarazin Blake & The Happy Hour Band 8 p.m., Hot Damn Scandal, Shpilkis
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Pretty Much Nothing
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Bluegrass Jam
  • Hotel Bellwether: 6 p.m., The Atlantics (classic rock ‘n’ roll)
  • Kulshan Trackside: 6 p.m., ELK; 7:30 p.m., Lightweight Champion
  • Mount Vernon Riverwalk: 6 p.m., Mama Dirty Skirt
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Surprise Chef, Akua Naru (jazz/funk/psychedelic)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., JP Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., YoGirlCallMeSenpai, Neffy3600, YpLou, Zon3sb, many more (hip-hop)
  • Zeeks: 7 p.m., TBA

Friday, Sept. 1

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7:30 p.m., Andy Koch (blues)
  • Aslan: 8 p.m. BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., The Naked Cowboys 
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Uncle Doug
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Julian MacDonough Jazz Quartet
  • Boundary: 6 p.m., Chill DeVille (classic rock)
  • Downtown Busking Program: 6–8 p.m., Briar & Joe Seamons at Briar and State (jazz/blues/folk), Mostafa & Tommy Turnbuckle at Prospect and Bay (hip-hop), Marie, The Band at Holly and Commercial (folk)
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Naughty Blokes Trio
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., North Country Highway (country/rock)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Cat Positive (solo), Where’s the Exit?
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Jungle Brothers, OG Neeks, BlkSknn (hip-hop)
  • Skylark’s: 5 p.m., Little Big Band (classic/Southern rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band (bluegrass)
  • Vault: 7 p.m. Double Trouble
  • WinkWink: 7 p.m., No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Kurly Somthing (rock)

Saturday, Sept. 2

  • Beach at Birch Bay: 3 p.m., Billy Appleton Band
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Frasier Green
  • Blue Room: 7 p.m., Paige Woods, Michael Dayvid, Veronica North (singer-songwriters) 
  • Deming Log Show Grounds: North Cascades Bluegrass Festival ft. Red Wine, Kruger Brothers, Kristen Grainger & True North, many more
  • Deming Library: 6 p.m., Marie, The Band (folk)
  • Eagle Haven: 6 p.m., Fortress of the Bear (blues/rock)
  • Fairhaven Village Tacos: noon, Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao (salsa)
  • Fireside 4 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Towse, Corwin Zekely & Grace
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Bellow Wing, Rose & The Sleeping Giants (folk)
  • Make Shift: 6:30 p.m., Slowfall, 3mry & Jester, Angel’s Egg, No-Fi Soul Rebellion (rock)
  • Kulshan Trackside: 6 p.m., Robert Sarazin Blake & The High, Wide and Handsome Band
  • Seafarer’s Park (Anacortes): noon to 8 p.m., AMP Fest ft. Pretty Much Nothing, The Enthusiasts, Collins Beach, many more
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Girls Know, Marble, Magenta Wave (rock)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Andre Feriante
  • Skylark’s: 5 p.m., Whitewing (blues/soul)
  • Station 49: 5 p.m., The Penny Stinkers (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Rob Hutchings (acoustic covers)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Red Not Chili Peppers, guests (RHCP tribute)

Sunday, Sept. 3

  • Beach at Birch Bay: 3 p.m., Shannanigans (classic rock)
  • Bellingham Cider Co: 6:30 p.m., The Moving Hats (Celtic)
  • Birdsview: 4 p.m., Yellow Birds
  • Deming Log Show Grounds: North Cascades Bluegrass Festival ft. Red Wine, Kruger Brothers, Kristen Grainger & True North, many more
  • Gilkey Square (La Conner): 1 p.m., Savanna Woods
  • Kulshan Sunnyland: 5 p.m., Towse (folk/pop)
  • Kulshan Trackside: 3 p.m., North Country Highway (country/rock)
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Dunton Sisters (country/bluegrass)
  • Paws for A Beer: 2 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Public Theatre, Fox Royale, guests (indie rock)
  • Skylark’s: 1 p.m., The Penny Stinkers
  • Station 49: 5 p.m., Little Big Band 

Monday, Sept. 4

  • Kulshan: 6 p.m., E. Pruitt (funk/jazz/R&B)
  • Station 49: 4 p.m., Minimum Wage (rock covers)

Tuesday, Sept. 5

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Boundary: 3 p.m., Out of the Ashes; 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m.,  Invitational Blues Jam
  • Ramble Tamble: 9 p.m. The Elevator Club ft. BF Knowhere (hip-hop)
  • Zeeks: 6 p.m., Open Mic

Wednesday, Sept. 6

  • Bar Cicotti: 6 p.m., Jerry Steinhilber Trio (jazz)
  • Boundary: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
  • FireHouse: 6:30 p.m., Jazz Center of Bellingham Open House
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m. Odd Mood Jam Band (rock/blues/jam)

Thursday, Sept. 7

  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (funk/jazz)
  • Blue Room: 9 p.m., Hip Hop Open Mic
  • Boundary: 5 p.m., Lindsay Street (Celtic); 8 p.m., Alpha Yaya Diallo
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Jazz Jam
  • Hotel Bellwether: 6 p.m., Jasmine Greene (blues/rock)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., The Shindellas, guests (soul/R&B)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., JP Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Frubbles, Leafs, Sam Fox, Perpetual Motion (drum and bass)
  • Zeeks: 7 p.m., Soul Drift (string band indie covers)

Friday, Sept. 8

  • Aslan: 8 p.m. The Problem (jazz)
  • Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m. Jasmine Greene Band
  • Beach Store Cafe: 5:30 p.m., Groove Doctors (classic rock)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Julian MacDonough Jazz Quartet
  • Blue Room: 9 p.m., Pure Halcyon, Rice, Somerfeld (rock)
  • Boundary: 6 p.m. Cozmic Sauce (funk/R&B)
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Mama Dirty Skirt (classic rock)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Young Kidz
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Kindred Spirits
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Grave Clothes, John Swanke (ambient/experimental)
  • Kulshan Trackside: 6 p.m., GrooveBot, BeatRoots
  • Lincoln Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Al Stewart and The Empty Pockets (folk)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Haunted Horses, Pleasure Dome, Mem//Brane (hardcore) 
  • Skylark’s: 5 p.m., Lisa Temcov Band (classic country)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Las Cafeteras, QUITAPENAS

Saturday, Sept. 9

  • Beach at Birch Bay: 3 p.m., Anti-Shock (alt-rock covers)
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Jack Parker
  • Boundary: 7 p.m., North Sound Soul
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Jealous Dogs (Pretenders tribute)
  • Fireside 4 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Robin Elwood & Friends (folk/Celtic)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Sarah Goodin (singer-songwriter)
  • Lynden Whiskey Walk: 5 p.m., Petty or Not, Whiskeydicks, Quattlebaum, more
  • Make.Shift: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Chris Pierce (blues)
  • Schweinhaus: 7 p.m., Meece, The Disorderlies, Sour Fuzz (punk)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Warp Detour, Doc Savage (punk covers)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Ben Starner
  • Skylark’s: 5 p.m., CraigO’s Planet Groove (psychedelic rock)
  • Station 49: 5 p.m., The Davanos (classic rock/blues)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Carly Ann Calbero (singer-songwriter)

Sunday, Sept. 10

  • Bellingham Cider Co: 6:30 p.m., Hot Tomatoes (vintage jazz)
  • Gilkey Square (La Conner): 1 p.m., The Murphtones
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m. The Devilies (Irish/folk)
  • Kulshan Trackside: 3 p.m., The Sweet Goodbyes (folk)
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m. The Fabulous Roof Shakers
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Triptides, Worn-Tin, Smooth Kiwi (rock)
  • Station 49: 3 p.m., D’vas and Dudes
  • Wild Buffalo: 6:30 p.m., The Walrus (classic rock)

Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

The Beat Goes On is published online Tuesdays and in print Fridays. Email: jsbhammusic@gmail.com or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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