Amadou Diagne and Group Yakar

Senegalese multi instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Amadou Diagne and his UK based band Group Yakar have been developing a style that is uniquely their own. It is music that is hard to define, from Afrobeat to Blues, Jazz Funk to Mbalax, traditional West African Praise singing to Rock, a working fusion of collective music experiences and styles. The band’s musicians all have a strong professional background of collaboration with different musical styles and cultures and a great understanding of how to approach a real fusion of their music styles with dynamic energy and improvisation. Amadou Diagne weaves his Senegalese melodies and rhythms with vocals that though soft and warm can deliver great power, or rousing the audience into a dancing frenzy with some of the best African percussion you will hear in the UK today.

Amadou Diagne

Amadou is a musician who has the traditions of West Africa at his fingertips. From Dakar, Senegal, Amadou comes from a long Griot family line of percussionists and praise singers. His talent as a Drummer led to his being invited to become a professional full-time member of l’Orchestre National du Senegal, regularly performing with some of the top West African stars for concerts and television, as well as becoming a busy session musician on the vibrant Dakar music scene. Since moving to England, Amadou has been busy forging his own musical identity as a musician, singer and songwriter inspired by meeting, playing and collaborating with musicians from diverse backgrounds and musical styles. Amadou is a multi instrumentalist who has developed a unique and intricate guitar style which draws heavily on his skills as a percussionist. He has an infectious love of improvisation and an eclectic musical inspiration to draw on when performing, exploring the instrument he is playing and delighting in the rhythmic possibilities within the melodies and the dynamic musical interaction with fellow band members and the audience.

Mark Smulian

Mark is a platinum and gold record producer and internationally acclaimed bass player and band leader who began working with Amadou in January 2014. He has had a huge involvement in the Middle-Eastern crossover music scene for many years. He worked with a variety of musicians from both the Israeli and Palestinian regions and with artists of many different cultural and political backgrounds. Mark was the co-founder and band leader of Whiteflag Project, the first Israeli Palestinian band in the world. Mark is the chairman and advisory member of Heartbeat Jerusalem, an NGO that unites young Palestinian and Israeli musicians. Mark has toured extensively worldwide performing at events such as The Olympic Games on the east Africa stage, Montreux Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival and KKL Switzerland.

Jim Blomfield

Jim is an exciting, versatile and engaging keyboard player who brings his unique and brilliant jazz fusion crossover style to Group Yakar. A legend in the Bristol music scene, he has played with the Andy Hague Quintet and Kevin Figes Quartet and he has accompanied a firmament of national and international names – Andy Sheppard, Pete King, Alan Barnes, Simon Spillett, Ed Jones and US saxophonists Benn Clatworthy and Greg Abate. As a composer and bandleader Jim has written eclectic music for a variety of ensembles – from quartet and septet to contemporary big band and jazz/classical collaborations with the Bristol Ensemble. His critically acclaimed 2013 album release ‘Wave Forms and Sea Changes‘ saw Jim compose for the more intimate setting of the piano trio, a format he has concentrated on for the last few years.

‘… brilliant pianist Jim Blomfield often packs more into a single solo than seems wholly decent.’ (Jazz UK)

Dan Pert

Dan’s youthful exuberance and versatile guitar skills bring a special edge to Group Yakar. He flows easily between many styles – rock, blues, funk, reggae and jazz – the basic ingredients for a world music player. Based in Bath, he plays with a number of local artists and bands, and teaches guitar and bass. He has played venues and festivals around the UK, London and the South West. Dan’s special guitar style is influenced by his eclectic musical tastes, resulting in a rhythmically interesting and melodic style with big soundscapes and intricate lead lines straight from the heart. Improvising is a very important part of this and you’ll never hear him play the same thing twice.

Paolo Adamo

Paolo’s drumming brings energy and colour to Group Yakar. Paolo Adamo was born and brought up in Italy and showed his interest in the music and a particular passion for the drums as a very young child. Paolo’s father introduced him to jazz music and enrolled his young son at the “Thelonious Monk Music Academy” of Campobasso for musical training for 9 years. Paolo started playing professionally from the age of 14, performing in the local clubs around the country and Europe, attending for 6 consecutive years the JazzPuzzle in Belgium.