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Kunle AyoLocation: Based in Johannesburg
Multi-Award winning Nigerian born Jazz guitarist, Kunle Ayo has been compared with giants of the contemporary school like George Benson, Earl Klugh and locally based Jimmy Dludlu. With 6 studio albums and numweous accolades to his name, Kunle is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most celebrated guitarists.
Born of Yoruba parents in Lagos Nigeria, Kunle always had an affinity to play, starting with drums and thumb piano and later graduating to guitar at the tender age of 20. He turned professional at the age of 28 when he started recording and playing alongside Nigeria’s internationally respected artists such as Chief Ebenezer Obey, Kayode Olajide and the enigmatic Lagbaja (The Masked One), with whom he toured Europe, North Africa and South America.
Since his arrival to South Africa in 2002, Kunle Ayo has performed and recorded with some of the country's top artists - notably the late Jabu Khanyile and international artists such as Kirk Whalum, Al Jarreau and Jonathan Butler. He has also produced music for talented musicians like MXO, KB and Simphiwe Dana to name a few.
His new and 6th studio album titled “Atunse the Revolution” features internationally acclaimed musicians like Bra Hugh Masekela, America’s great Saxophonist Kirk Whalum and Zimbabwean guitar giant, Oliver Mtukudzi. The album was released in 2016 and comprises of smooth African contemporary jazz which is ethnically influenced. 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.
In 2015, Kunle was honoured as an Ambassador for One Organisation alongside 18 other musicians including D’Banj, Femi Kuti, Omawunmi Magbele, Liz Ogunbo, Vikcy Kimani, Buffalo Soldier, Diamond amongst others for their Do Agric Project which featured the incredible Pan – African “Cocoa na Chocolate song”, recorded and released last year.
In 2014, Kunle got London to a standstill during his Kunle Ayo Live in London Concert and DVD recording. Attended by the who’s who in the UK entertainment industry, the concert took place at the Swanky Under the Bridge venue underneath the Chelsea Football stadium in Stamford bridge, London. The long awaited Live DVD recording titled “Kunle Ayo Live in London” was released on the 30th of April 2016, and features Mobo Award nominated artist Femi Temowo, multi-award winning alto saxophonist Soweto Kinch, and a host of others.
Awards & Distinctions
- 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
Kunle has headlined and performed at numerous notable Jazz festivals such as the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Mapungubwe Jazz Festival in Limpopo, Tzaneen Jazz Festival, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, Ekurhuleni Jazz comes alive, Calabar Jazz Festival in Nigeria, 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, Safaricom Jazz Festival in Kenya to name a few.
He performed at the ceremonial handover to Nigeria of World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town, South Africa 2013. He has also playing at the Jazz Clubs in Johannesburg including The Orbit Home of Jazz and Winnies Jazz Club to mention a few as well as corporate functions and private parties.
- 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
- 2011 - “BEST OF BOTH WORLDS” - SHEER SOUND DISTRIBUTION – SLCD 215
- 2013 – “JAZZIN UP HIS PRAISE” VOLUME 1 – QBYE MUSIC DISTRIBUTION
- 2016 – ATUNSE (THE REVOUTION) – KCOOL PRODUCTIONS – KCOOLCD005
- "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." - Great American Saxophonist & eleven time Grammy Award nominee, 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" - Professor at Department of African American Studies at Georgia State University and band leader at Common Ground Collective, Mausiki Scales
- “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”. - Platinum selling Saxophonist and eight-time Grammy nominee, Dave Koz
Typical Budget for Kunle Ayo is
R10000 - R120000.
Please note this is merely a guide; if you submit a booking enquiry, you will receive an exact quote based on the unique details of your event.
Submit a booking enquiry directly with Kunle Ayo, and the Artist or their manager / representative will be in touch with you soon!
Should you be unsure about which acts to enquire with, you can choose to SEND GIGSTER YOUR EVENT DETAILS and we will forward your enquiry to up to 5 suitable acts.
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