Alpha Yaya Diallo Imme

This Guinean-born, Canadian-based vocalist, guitarist and songwriter is an internationally-acclaimed solo artist and a key member of the Juno-winning African Guitar Summit. Imme, his sixth solo recording, is a sweet treat. That distinctive West African vocal and guitar sound, and the mesmerisingly repetitive melodies remain core components, but Diallo mixes in enough different elements to keep things interesting. Always reliable multi-instrumentalist Jesse Zubot contributes violin, viola and mandolin, and assists with the production, while such top Vancouver players as Chris Gestrin and Darren Parris work effectively with the African players featured. Female backing vocals further beef-up the sound on "Sara" and "Femme Noire," an album highlight. Diallo sings equally effectively in English (as on environmental plea "The Climate Is the Heart"), French and his native languages of Foulani and Souso. The gentle, warm vibe of the record will make for fine summer listening. (Jericho Beach)