It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but Canadian country singer Johnny Reid and Senegalese-born world musician Élage Diouf are great musical friends, and they've just set out on a two-month cross-Canada tour.

"This is a new experience because this is not my music, this is not my direction, so I just want to take it and enjoy it," Montreal-based Diouf said from Vancouver. Abbotsford, just west of Vancouver, is the first stop on the tour.

Diouf first heard Johnny Reid perform at the 2011 Juno Awards ceremony where Diouf won a Juno for World Music Album of the Year for Aksil, or Welcome. 

Johnny Reid took home Country Album of the Year for A place called love

Then Sophie Laurent, at that time the producer of CBC's À Propos, got the two musicians together for a session in CBC Montreal's Studio 12.

That's where they co-wrote and first recorded the song Just One Day.  They re-recorded the song for Diouf's new album Melokáane, released in the summer of 2015, and it went to the top spot on the iTunes World songs' chart in Canada and Norway in August and to the number 13 spot on the French iTunes world chart.

'I love the melody'

Diouf is also in the news this week for his cover of the song Mile after mile / Mille après mille for the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Covered Classics series.

"I love the melody of this song. The first time when I listened, I say, 'Wow.'"

"I love it because you have something from the heart. I say, 'Yeah, why not? I'm gonna do it.' When I sing this song I feel good. I love this song."

Mile after mile / Mille après mille was a bilingual hit in the 70's.

Written by Franco-Ontarian country music singer-songwriter Gérald "Gerry" Joly and recorded by country singer Orval Prophet, it remained on the Canadian country charts for a total of 21 weeks, reaching the number 1 spot in January 1972.

In Quebec, the proclaimed "King of western", Willie Lamothe, recorded the French version of the song, Mille après mille, in 1972.

It's still one of Quebec's most iconic tunes and it's been recorded by Quebec singers from Isabelle Boulay to Fred Pellerin and Céline Dion. 


Here is Élage Diouf's version: