“I don’t play for the people, but I play with the people”
Taking you on a journey as we go from place to place, stage to stage. A journey of sharing our backstage story from different cities. This is Kunle ayo on the road
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About Kunle Ayo
Kunle Ayo, probably Africa’s most celebrated guitarists, has earned several musical accolades, even comparisons with giants of the contemporary school like George Benson, Earl Klugh and locally based Jimmy Dludlu.
This dazzling live performer has 5 albums with the 6th Album set to be released later this year. For every show Kunle Ayo performs in, he leaves his fans inspired and full of positive energy.
Born of Yoruba parents in Lagos, Nigeria, his parents clearly knew a star was born, writing his destiny in the stars by naming him Kunle loosely translated as “abundance” in his native Yoruba tongue. Literally “Kun” means “to fill’ and “le” stands for “house”. In a way perhaps he was destined to fill houses with beautiful music. Kunle Ayo recalls how as a youngster he was always had and affinity to play, starting with drums and thumb piano and later graduating to guitar at the tender age 20. By age 28 Kunle Ayo was recording and playing playing with some of Nigeria’s internationally respected artists, including Chief Ebenezer Obey, Kayode Olajide and the enigmatic Lagbaja (The Masked One) with whom he toured, Europe, North Africa and South America.
Since his trek to the south in 2002, Kunle has performed and recorded with of the country’s best musicians – notably the late Jabu Khanyile and internationally artists such as Kirk Whalum, Al Jarreau sand Jonathan Butler. In 2005 Kunle expanded his empire and started his own company, K Cool Productions and has produced music for talented acts like MXO and Simphiwe Dana to name a few.
As one of the most sought after performers Kunle Ayo has participated in a number of jazz festivals, notably the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz International Jazz Festival, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Mapungubwe Jazz Festival in Limpopo, Tzaneen Jazz Festival, Ekurhuleni Jazz comes alive, Calabar Jazz Festival in Nigeria and lots more.
He recently performed at the handover to Nigeria ceremony of World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town, South Africa 2013.
In 2014, he performed at the Tikwe Jazz Festival, Harare international festival of Arts in Zimbabwe, Ugu Jazz Festival , Africa Day concert at the PACOFS, Bloemfontein , Go-Jazz Festival at the Jazz Café, London with many more in the pipeline.
“My philosophy on live entertainment is that I don’t play for the people but I play with the people.
He celebrated his 10years on stage in South Africa on 4th May, 2012 and had Oliver Mtukudzi of Zimbabwe perform as guest artist. Also had the likes of Mxo, Georgie of Kaya. FM, Bryce Anderson, Aniete Ezeimo and a host of others.