Music plays a vital role in the healing traditions of West Africa. Among the Minianka of Mali, every healer makes music, and every musician is a healer. A musician's apprenticeship includes the study of plants, magical words, proverbs, psychology, and philosophy. Their music heightens awareness and connection to nature, while restoring balance and harmony.
Master percussionist, author, teacher, and healer Yaya Diallo spent his childhood studying music and medicine in Mali: "In my culture, people are encouraged to avoid those sounds and pitches that disturb them. Likewise, we are encouraged to expose ourselves to those sounds that are beneficial and healing. For the healer it is important to be conscious of this, and to manipulate sounds and pitches intelligently and discerningly."
On this recording you will hear many traditional instruments from West Africa, including djembes, talking drums, bamboo flutes, and balafones. You will also hear a bafoko, the healing drum of the Minianka. This medical drum is played to help patients relax and digest the medicines they must take.
Yaya Diallo was trained on balafon and hand drums by his grandfather and by his spiritual mentor, Nangape. Although he now lives in Montreal and teaches and performs drumming 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. Yaya is the author of The Healing Drum: African Wisdom Teachings (Destiny Books), which traces his cultural legacy and explores the Minianka view of the cosmos relative to daily work, celebration, herbal medicine, dance, trance, initiation, and death.