“My philosophy on live entertainment is that I don’t play for the people but I play with the people.”
As multi-continental-award winner, Kunle Ayo, puts final touches on the legendary Hugh Masekela’s forthcoming release, he has excited the music industry with his very own stupendous and lively latest album that can best be defined as ‘The Revolution’, after a four-year hiatus on the music release front.
Quite at home on the stupendous colorful work of art, “Atunse” (The Revolution), the guitarist/producer is at a level that many will marvel at and earn him renewed respect. Featuring acts such as Bra Hugh himself on “Ayobami”, the project also features acts such as the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe) on the first single “Ile”, multi Grammy-nominee Kirk Whalum (US) on “Nothing to something”, Africa Mkhize on “Happy to know you”, and Bholoja (Swaziland) adding spice with “Iroju”.
The SA based Nigerian iconic guitarist/producer, who produced the songbird, Simphiwe Dana’s “Firebrand’, says his album is a remake of some of his old songs, and an elevation of his sound, hence “Atunse” – redo in Yoruba .
“You know what they say about revamping, it's usually comes out better. It's a different sound from my other albums because we are fusing new ideas, and moving the music with the times without losing its musicality. ‘I believe that we need to pick up our lives wherever we find ourselves in unpleasant situations and find a way to "RE DO" life.
We must not let life knock us down, but I encourage people to dust themselves off, stand up again, and move right on again, which was my personal experience. All things in life are experiences, we best learn from, and I believe that with God all things are possible.”
Due to the demand for diverse styles of Music, Kunle Ayo stands out as one of the artists who has retained his roots as a Nigerian Jazz Guitarist.
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, Go-Jazz Festival at the Jazz Cafe, London, Safaricom Jazz Festival, Nairobi, Calabar Jazz Festival in Nigeria and lots more.
• 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