Ayo was born and raised in Nigeria where he was initiated as a babalawo in the indigenous Yoruba religion, Ifa. He has been drumming, singing and dancing since he was a child. In the 1980s, Ayo, whose name means “happy”, came to America where he lived and toured with renowned Yoruba master drummer Babatunde Olatunji for eight years. In the 1990s, Ayo was proprietor of Yoruba House in West Los Angeles. Today, he is touring in order to offer his music and teachings to a wider audience.
Ayo says, “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.” In the indigenous Yoruba religion, drumming, singing and dancing are considered forms of prayer. Songs and rhythms honor various orishas, gods and goddesses who embody natural forces and assist the one Creator.
To Ayo, music is both a spiritual practice and a powerful form of healing. He says, “Rhythm is healing. Drumming is advanced meditation where your body speaks to your spirit. That’s why once you start drumming, it’s difficult to stop.”