You Can Thank Yaya's Father for His Culturally Rich Sound

May 16, 2023

Lauryn Njeri

2 min read

Italian Dj, producer, and label head Yaya can trace the origin of his unique and innovative sound back to his rich musical upbringing. Born in Turin, Italy, Yassin Ligali Ali was raised in a family with a deep musical appreciation. His father was a musician and played the lute and oud. He also exposed him to a sonic tapestry of world music. The record player in his home reverberated with Arabic music, afrobeat, afro funk, and traditional Moroccan music.

"From my father, I learned so much about percussion, rhythm, and grooves from his African heritage…My father was the lead singer of a group called M'Bamina. They were playing afro funk and afrobeat music," Yaya told Gray Area. "From when I was young, there were so many friends of my father at home, they were always around playing music, listening to vinyl. The house was always full of records and when I was super young there was just always music around me. It helped me a lot to discover an identity around music. I still have so many records from my father that inspire me today."

As a teenager, Yaya began to develop a keen interest in electronic music and started to attend local clubs and parties where he could hear DJs and producers perform live. He began to experiment with making music on his own. After years of spending time in Ibiza honing his skills as a DJ and producer, Yaya's musical career took off in 2009 when he signed "Vecute" to the mighty Desolat label, founded by renowned producers Loco Dice and Martin Buttrich.

Yaya has since continued to create and release music on Desolat and other illustrious labels like Cadenza, Fuse, and of course, his own tastemaking imprint Tamango. Additionally, he has kept up his performances at some of the major electronic music festivals and gatherings around the globe, such as Sónar, ADE, and BPM Festival.

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