Kunle Ayo recalls how as a youngster he always had and affinity to play, starting with drums and thumb piano and later graduating to guitar at the tender age of 20. By age 28 Kunle Ayo was recording and 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.
“My philosophy on live entertainment is that I don’t play for the people but I play with the people.”
Since his trek to the south in 2002, Kunle Ayo has performed and recorded with some of the country's best artists - notably the late Jabu Khanyile and International artists such as, Kirk Whalum, Al Jarreau and Jonathan Butler.
In 2005 Kunle Ayo expanded on 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 concerts, notably the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz International Jazz Festival, and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
• 2002 - “AYO” (JOY) – UNIVERSAL MUSIC, CDRBL 294
• 2003 – “BEYOND BORDERS” – UNIVERSAL – CDRBL 316
• 2005 – “SINCERELY YOURS” – BULA MUSIC - CDJOJ 710
• 2007 – “ A TASTE OF HOME” – BULA MUSIC – CDJOJ 718
• 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
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