“My philosophy on live entertainment is that I don’t play for the people but I play with the people.”
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.
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.
This year, he has also 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.
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.
In October 2012, he released his gospel project named Jazzin up His praise Volume 1 in at The Gathering of Champions which took place at the Excel Center in London and is due for release in South Africa later this year.
• 2004 - Kora Awards - Beyond the Borders - Best Male West Artist (West Africa) Category
• 2005 - Channel O Awards - Slowly But Surely (single), Beyond the Borders (Album) -Best Jazz Video
• 2009 - Nigeria Achievement Award - Best Musical Group, Kunle Ayo and his band. Awarded by President Goodluck Jonathan.
• 2011 - Metro FM Award - Best of Both Worlds - Best Contemporary Jazz Album
2015 - Afrima Award - Best Jazz Artist in Africa
WHAT OTHER PROMINENT ARTISTS IN JAZZ HAVE TO SAY ABOUT KÚNLÉ:
‘KUNLE! It's a good thing we in the States don't know what that name means, because once you hear his incredible, energetic, world-beat, soulful, jazzy, uplifting music, you'll still be baffled anyway! What is a Kunle?! Just listen and be transformed.’ ‘Kirk Whalum
‘Giving a shout out to you --- Mr. Kunle, musician extraordinaire. The world awaits your awesome talent. Keep spreading the love with your beautiful music. "Coming to a town near you" master musician Kunle / bringing you all styles...jazz, afro, soul, funk, mellow vibes...‘’Mausiki Scales, Common Ground.
“Kunle has a rare combination of gifts—he is able to tell a story simply with a melody on guitar and at the same time, fill the ears of a listener with an incredibly authentic musical point of view. His passion feels rooted in his love for his homeland and his distinct appreciation for humanity. The music he makes is a thing of beauty”. ‘Dave Koz