Diverse musician enriches local culture

COAST CITIES — Josiah Diallo has been educating and entertaining local audiences for decades with musical storytelling and his unique blend of reggae, folk, jazz, R&B and original songs.
“Lots of people remember me from Miracles Cafe in Cardiff,” he said. “That is where I started in the 80s. I found the guitar, and I found my voice, and I haven’t stopped playing since.”
As a soloist, Diallo has attracted a loyal following by performing acoustic guitar at coffee houses and restaurants where he sings jazz standards and folk music made popular by artists such as Neil Young and Bob Dylan. He also recites and interprets poetry to Spanish guitar.
He has taken his one-man show to elementary schools, libraries, community colleges, summer camps and public and private events combining storytelling, music and interactive discussion to explore multicultural issues and commemorate annual events including Black History Month in February and Kwanzaa, which is celebrated between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1.
In his “music maker program,”  Diallo shares his love of music with children by demonstrating different kinds of chords, drumbeats and piano melodies along with rhythmic beats, hand clapping and simple movements that promote coordination and body awareness.
“I help children to discover their voices,” he said. “I empower, teach and give them a sense of community.”
Throughout the month of December, Diallo will offer a Kwanzaa program to the community that engages the audience in a cultural experience, celebrating common human values such as self-determination, creativity, cooperative work and responsibility.
“Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one,” he said. “It’s about love and unity, and honoring the best of ourselves and sharing the beauty of our culture with others.”
With the holidays approaching, Diallo said he’ll also be performing Christmas medleys on acoustic guitar for public and private parties.
Diallo has another side, which emerges when performing with the Uplift band. The group plays world beat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and reggae, Caribbean rhythms, classic rock and R&B at North County venues including the Del Mar Hilton, San Diego County Fair, Encinitas Street Fair and Hennessey’s in Carlsbad.
Ariah Boyle is bar manager at the Calypso Cafe in Leucadia.
“Once you hear Josiah play, you understand how he’s created a market for his music,” he said. “Josiah brings reggae, soul and blues to North County.  We have him play here because he’s a great musician.”
Diallo’s latest gig is for the new Whole Foods Market in Encinitas, although he is liable to show up anywhere.
“I get most of my referrals playing in the morning, where people are buying coffee and they hear me sing and say, ‘I like it,’” he said. “Playing natural acoustic sounds resonates with me, and I find it resonates with my audience as well.”
He added, “I want to maintain the richness and authenticity of live music — to live this music, and share this music, and enrich and empower through music.”
For more information, visit josiahsing.com or call Diallo at (760) 576-7941.


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