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Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria | SELF

Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria | SELF
Band World Jazz




"Music Review"


By Athene Oveh

Ayetoro was formed by Nigerian Pianist, Composer and Music Director, Funsho Ogundipe. It straddles both the Afrobeat and Jazz worlds equally creating a sound which draws energy from the highly percussive Afrobeat keeping music lovers excited with its intensity. A global band which exists in different forms in different places, the creative sounds evolve constantly under Ogundipe’s direction to create different versions in Lagos, London and Accra. 

With this the third international release and coming on the heels of the critically acclaimed Omo Obokun Afrobeat Chronicles Ayetoro take Afrobeat into modern territory with Soul and Hip Hop added to the rich brew of Afrofuturistic Jazz and Afrobeats.

Asoju Oba is the first Ep from the third in the Afrobeat Chronicles series. It features all three versions of the group and was recorded in Accra Lagos and London.

The album in the Afrobeat Chronicles series. Featuring the cream of African and Diasporic talent this EP introduces Lady Jay from Ghana who sings lead vocals on Baba Don Go a tribute to Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Other talents featured from the Hip Hop camp include Lagos based producer and rapper Hakeem Yesufu aka Mendo and Akinyemi Ogundipe aka Skillz a young Lagos based Rapper.

Who both feature on 'Seeds in the Pod' a Hip hop meets Afrobeat Jazz like joint. Its diminished chords and minor scales provide a platform for some deep Jazz/Rap inspired by the Sufi Poetry of India's Ibn al Arabi.

The Jazz heavyweights are still flexing their improvisational ? Music muscles as Music Director Composer Funsho Ogundipe on Piano and Keys and Trumpeter Byron Wallen and Clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings illuminate the album with entrancing colours.

Asoju Oba is an imagining of what Afrobeat would sound like in the hands of the great Thelonious Monk.  Its a funky dance floor number with sax and piano solos and a free Jazz outro.

Its cover is a collaborative work involving Prila Paiva a Brazilian artist who is steeped in African culture. It is an esoteric representation of an Ifa story. The new album is titled Asoju Oba, which roughly means the King's eyes. It is inspired by the writings of the Brazilian author Jorge Amado who exposed Yoruba culture to the Portuguese speaking world.

Official. 'Asoju Oba' Ayetoro's new EP available online as digital download

Ayetoro EPK
music . videos . photos . news . calendar
- Taruwa Magazine

"AYETORO – Musically Crafting A World of Peace and Order"

This statement embodies the purpose of Nigerian Jazz and Afrobeat band, Ayetoro, founded by former white collar worker, Funsho Ogundipe. In this interview by Athene Ovey for Ayaka, the hands of time were wound back to the emergence of this post Fela Afrobeat band, its core values and future.

Ayetoro is often mistaken for the town with a similar name. What prompted you to name the band Ayetoro
The name conjures a vision of order. After chaos, order is a mathematical possibility. With order peace has a chance. So the name represents to the band an ordered world of peace. Directly translated, it means a world of peace and order.

Describe Ayetoro’s music and brand
The band was formed in 1996 in Nigeria. Our first album Naija Blues featured Segun Arinze, the late J T West, Shadrack John and a host of other guest artists. I then relocated to the UK. In London, together with music talents such Byron Wallen the trumpeter, guitar player Jim Mulle, bass player Orefo Orakwue, Ayetoro performed at live shows across the UK. In 2007, we formed Ayetoro Ghana with an equally talented group of musicians such as bassist Phillip Acquah, drummer C.C Frank. Our producer engineer Panji Anoff lives and works from out of Accra. What you hear now is the new Ayetoro in Nigeria which was formed when I came back in 2010. The journey has been remarkable playing alongside respected talented musicians worldwide. The one constant about Ayetoro is that it has been and remains open to musicians that understand the music and bring a certain level of quality and creativity to it. Asa toured with us, the legendary guitarist Oscar Ellimbi and bass player Falna King both from Cameroon played in the first edition of Ayetoro in Lagos. Today’s Ayetoro is experimenting with music genres such as Rap, Poetry, Neo Soul and Blues. What remains unchanged is the quality of our music. There are no compromises there. The brand is rooted in tradition yet very modern.

Which of your songs leave a vivid memory whether it the writing or performance?
Recording and mixing the Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 1 album in a day. No overdubs or editing and no time for multiple takes. Such a challenge but the band rose to the task magnificently.

Although you’re not mainstream, it’s been 16 years of sheer musical genius as seen in the quality of your work, but do you think you’ve broken through in Nigeria yet. Do you feel any sense of acceptance by Nigerians yet?
Nigeria is what it is. We live, we love, we cry and we never say never. Afrobeat or Jazz is underground music nationwide so we put everything in its proper place.

Culturally what is the significance of the traditional symbols and Yoruba language we see and hear all over Ayetoro’s works?
Our culture is the basis for everything we do. It is the same for those who hold the scroll in the right hand. The Yoruba possess a magnificent artistic tradition. We are only carrying on in that tradition as we are based in that cultural area in Nigeria.

Ayetoro’s new single ‘Asoju Oba’ just dropped online. Can you explain the album, artwork and the people that worked with you on it?
Asoju Oba roughly translates into “the king’s observer.” It marks the beginning of a conceptual series of albums featuring contemporary art. The album is our homage to the deep cultural ties between Bahia in Brasil and the Yorubas in Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. The title is inspired by a character Oju Oba in the book “Tent of Miracles” by Brazilian author Jorge Amado. It features three tracks which showcase the different Ayetoro bands. Baba don go is a tribute to Fela Kuti. With Lady Jay from Ghana and Skillz from Nigeria on spoken word. Solos are by Byron Wallen and Shabakka Hutchings in the UK.  Asoju Oba is an instrumental feature. Seeds in the Pod/Love is my Religion is where Afrobeat meets conscious Hip Hop and guest stars Mendo with Caroline Fusi singing the hook. I take piano solos.  The artwork was created by the Brazilian artist Prila Paiva from Sao Paulo. Seeds in the Pod was inspired by the Sufi poetry of Abu Bakr Ibn al Arabi especially, love is my religion. Technically we collaborated with Panji Anoff of Pidgen Music, Ghana who is in charge of our technical side. The tracks were recorded at Alpha Junes (Lagos), Livingstone Studios (London) and Pidgen (Accra) and mastered by Sonny at Spare Dougal (London).

Where can we find the album and is there a plan for a launch in Nigeria?

Currently the album is available as a digital download on iTunes. The address is: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ayetoro/id7871324. Then it will be available on CD and as a 12 inch vinyl record in Nigeria in April 2012. Fans can like Ayetoro Live on Facebook and our official page is www.myspace.com/ayetoro

Are you looking for any future collaboration with any artists (Nigeria or international)? Who?
Watch this space!
- www.ayakaonline.com

"The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol 1"


Jazz sometimes is most adventurous when it is interwoven with certain cultural styles, such as Brazilian, Latin, and South African. Well, there's another side of the African influence. Brought to us from Nigeria, Ayetoro delivers a funky beat the merges that country's native music with some hip, groove-driven jazz.

Founded in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe, a Yoruba composer, Ayetoro presents a five-track selection of music that combines jazz with Nigerian Afrobeat. Ogundipe plays Fender Rhodes electric piano, writes, and produces. He actually leads two versions of the band: one based in London, the other in Lagos, Nigeria. It's the London ensemble, with a few additional players, that's featured on The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 1.

If there's one disappointment about the album, it's that there are only five songs, which breeze through in less than half an hour. Fortunately, that's the worst that can be said. The music is upbeat, joyful, funky, and of course jazzy. All the songs are good, but perhaps the coolest is the one with the most original title: Revenge of the Flying Monkeys. Some of the sidemen featured on this album are Byron Wallen, trumpet; Linus Bewely, clarinet and soprano sax; Robert Fordjour, drums; and Orefo Orakwue, bass. Whether playing solo or in the background, each brings a sharp performance to the recording. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we hear from Ayetoro.


Ayetoro is a Yoruba word that means world of peace. Ayetoro is also the name of a band formed in Nigeria ten years ago in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe. Funsho has quite an interesting and unusual biography for a musician. He has never played the piano before he was seventeen and he only discovered his deep love for music while he was at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria. After he graduated he worked in a law firm for five years and then for the Prudent Merchant Bank (now Prudent Bank). Oddly enough one of his early encounters with a world famous musician ended in disaster. “I remember when I was in Law School, I used to hang out and go and watch Fela play at the Shrine on most Friday evening after school,” Funsho recalls. “There was this day I just walked up to him and told him that I wanted to play the piano. I was wearing a jacket, so I think I must have convinced him. At this time, I didn’t know what they were playing. I didn’t have a clue about what they were doing. So, he took me on stage and put on the piano and I succeeded in making a fool of myself because everybody laughed. I remember one of Fela’s dancers called Folake laughed at me and said ‘You this man, lawyer, Fela friend, you want turn to musician abi? Fuck off men!’ That was in 1988“.

Luckily Funsho didn’t give up then and continued to practise the piano, formed the band Ayetoro and has since then released four albums: Naija Blues (1996), Something Dey (1998), Six Thousand And A Minute (2004) and the Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I, which was already released in 2003. Like most independently released albums the Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I has escaped my notice back then. But as we all know there’s really no expiration date for good music. And Ayetoro’s own blend of afrobeat and jazz, with a strong emphasis on jazz on this album, is simply good music.

The album was recorded in London with no overdubs with Funsho Ogundipe (fender rhodes electric piano), Byron Wallen (trumpet), Robert Fordjour (drums), Linus Bewely (clarinet, soprano sax), Olalekan Babalola (percussion), Ayokunle Odia (tenor sax), Angela Al Hucima (percussion), Orefo Orakwue (fender jazz bass) and Curtis Shaw (guitar).

The album starts with the cheerful From Benin To Belize, a catchy tune with subtextual Latin references. Becklow Gardens (Afrofunkycool) with its tight woodwinds section is just that, afrofunkycool. One of my favourite tracks is Revenge Of The Flying Monkeys (yes, I’m always a sucker for oddly titled songs), an inspiring and danceable afrobeat song, I just wish it would last much longer than its 5:20 minutes.

Blues 4 The Earth Mother is another highlight that shows what a great band Ayetoro is and what beautiful songs Funsho writes. The album’s closer Yoruba Boyz Club can best described as afrobeat meets broken beats done with real instruments. And it features some fine fender rhodes playing by Funsho.

There’s just one letdown with this album and that is, it’s too short with five songs in less than half an hour. Especially the repetitive Yoruba Boyz Club could be a (dancefloor) monster in an extended version that could accent its trance-like qualities.

All in all The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I (The Jazz Side Of Afrobeat) is a great album that shows that afrobeat isn’t dead but but very much alive and it flourish if married with jazz and played by talented musicians. Highly recommendable.

- afrobeat, afrofunk, afrojazz,afrorock

"Afrobeat and Jazz at Ogunlana Drive"

It was a marriage of two great musical genres that incidentally borrow a lot from each other at the ‘Afrobeat meets Jazz' concert on April 24, 2010. At the Ogunlana Drive, Surulere-based Moods Club, the presence of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Fela could be simultaneously felt. This was combined with the creativity of Funsho Ogundipe, leading his Ayetoro band in a performance that cut through the old and new schools. His brand of music which is also called Ayetoro ("World at Peace" in Yoruba) was the engine that drove the evening's events.

Ogundipe was born in Lagos where he created his own Jazz-based style. The composer and pianist began playing the piano aged 17 and after regular visits to Fela Anikulapo Kuti's Afrika Shrine. Memorably, Ogundipe performed with the Afrobeat legend in 1988.

In 1996, he formed Ayetoro. The band's music is influenced by the maestro Fela; Jazz greats Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Sun Ra and Apala persona Haruna Ishola. Due to constant travel, Ogundipe's band exists wherever he is based.

On this occasion, the band existed in Lagos in a venue that was filled to capacity and beyond for the evening's performance. Lovers of Jazz and Afrobeat trooped into the Club to listen to jazz and Afrobeat music played in a unique fusion of the two genres.

The band led listeners on a musical journey that cut across age: from the jiggling photographer and culture critic Tam Fiofori to the foot tapping Sista Soul.

The nine-man Ayetoro band played songs that did not only combine contemporary musical instruments like the trumpets or guitar, but added a very African feel with the talking drum. Ogundipe's use of the structure of 12-bar blues, diminished chords and whole tones to improve the band's sound distinguished his style of music. His combination of jazz, Afro beat and highlife added more colour to the sounds produced by the ensemble. The tempo of each tune was transmitted in waves that took the audience from one musical high to the next with a few sober moments in between.

At the end of the first session which lasted almost an hour, the musicians took a break, but the crowd did not disperse for fear of missing the second half of well-served music. The next session featured other artists in vocal performances. Veronny "Sista Soul" Odili rendered a poem on the Umaru Yar'Adua administration's Seven-Point Agenda, while another young artist gave his impression of renowned Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. It was indeed a job well done.

Sista Soul also delivered a love song in the fashion of popular female jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne.

The evening continued with more danceable jazz-inspired Afrobeat that kept the audience busy until it was time to go home.

Some of the popular faces at the event were Reggae Musician Ras Kimono, photographers Unoma Giese and Don Barber; and Society for Nigerian Artists (SNA) Chairman Lagos Chapter, Oliver Enwonwu.

Funsho Ogundipe's ‘Afrobeat Meets Jazz' sessions are at Moods, 57 Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, Lagos - every last Saturday of the month.

Dear Reader.
While we value your feedback we may block inappropriate comment. Please feel free to respond to new comments. Note also that 234NEXT bears no responsibility for what readers post and is not liable for any form of impersonation.
Reader Comments (1)

Posted by ijeoma o on May 02 2010

go sista soul. Really wished i cud have made it to the show. glad it was a success.

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"Ayetoro Omo Obokun.. The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol 2"

Published: December 4, 2006
Ayetoro: Omo Obokun: The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 2 / Directions In Music By Funsho Ogundipe

The "problem" with this album is that the title suggests one thing and the music itself delivers another. The Afrobeat Chronicles suggests an album of post-Fela Anikulapo Kuti, in-the-groove, hot and raw Nigerian Afrobeat. This first impression is reinforced by a glance at the personnel listing, which is packed with horn players, drummers and percussionists and evokes memories of Kuti's classic Afrika 70 and Egypt 80 lineups.

All of which proves you can't judge a disc by looking at its cover (not always, anyway). The main thrust of bandleader/keyboardist Funsho Ogundipe's music is altogether dreamier, prettier and gentler than the totemic word Afrobeat suggests. Look closer at the personnel listing and you notice a cello, acoustic guitars, a flute, a clarinet, a bass clarinet and a Steinway grand piano. There may have been a flute from time to time, but I can't remember ever seeing the other instruments onstage at Kuti's Kalakuta club.

Yes, something other than straightline Afrobeat is abroad here—and once you've recalibrated your head and redirected your expectations, you'll likely find it enchanting and distinctly more-ish. If this is Afrobeat, it's cooked in a slower oven and spiced with ingredients from further afield than in Kuti's day. Countries represented in the band include Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chile, Belize, Scotland and Ghana, all of whom bring traces of their native cultures to the mix.

There are two explicitly Afrobeat tracks—"Revenge Of The Flying Monkeys Part 2" and "Mr XYZ"—and both, appropriately, were recorded in Lagos (the rest of the album was made in London). At seven and nine minutes respectively, they are, also appropriately, amongst the longest tracks. Even these tunes, however, are far from standard Afrobeat: irresistibly funky, but cooler and looser. Ogundipe's bluesy Steinway colours "Flying Monkeys," while Rob Lavers plays delightful flute on "Mr XYZ." Both tracks are distinguished by the outstanding electric bassist Falna Amodu King.

The other tracks have an even wider focus. There's a Latin feel to the toplines of "Oga!" (pidgin for "big shot") and "Labi Igi Orombo" (Yoruba for "under the orange tree"), the first featuring Mike Collins' mellifluous Spanish guitar, the second Shabaka Hutchings' pretty clarinet. Trumpeter Byron Wallen's showcase, "Two In One (Les Ibeji)," is an impressionistic, post-In A Silent Way gem. It doesn't travel far over its seven minutes, but it travels deep, alongside Ogundipe's empathetic Fender Rhodes. Hutchings' bass clarinet is a highlight of "Song For Jenny," and Jenny Adejayan's cello is another. The bata drum choir on the title track, together with Curtis Shaw's Spanish guitar, make for another memorable tune.

This album reveals new layers of thoughtful beauty each time you listen to it.

Track Listing: Pepple Street Blues; Two In One (Les Ibeji); Oga!; Open Your Eyes...And Your Ears Too; Revenge Of The Flying Monkeys Part 2; Afrobeat.com; Mr XYZ; Labe Igi Orombo; Highlife No.2; Omo Obokun; Song For Jenny.

Personnel: Funsho Ogundipe: Steinway grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, vocals; Ayo Odia (1,5,7), Ayo Solanke (5,7): tenor saxophone; Shabaka Hutchings (4,6,8,9,10,11): tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Rob Lavers (3,7): baritone saxophone, flute; Byron Wallen (1), Nathaniel Bassey (5,7): trumpet; Jim Mullen (1,4,6), Curtis Shaw (3,10), Mike Collins (3): electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Oroh Angiama (1), Nick Cohen (4,8,9), Falna Amodu King (5,7): electric bass; Karl Adedare Rasheed-Abel(3,6,11): electric bass, acoustic bass; Pharoah Russell (1,3,5,7), Robert Fordjour (6,11), Frank Tontoh (4,8,9); drums; Jenny Adejayan (3,11): cello; Nick Pamphilon (2), Jorge Santo (2,10), Dayo Rasaq-Ayandele (1,2,8,9,10): bata; Samson Olawale (5,7): congas; Angela Paz Alhucima (1-4,6,8-11): percussion; Kamoru Ayantunji (8), Hafiz (5,7,8): talking drum; Kwesi Frimpong (7): spoken word.

Record Label: Flying Monkeys | Style: Latin/World

- www. all about jazz. com

"An Interview with Funsho Ogundipe"

Interview with Funsho Ogundipe

Q: You've started quite late in your life with playing musical instruments. In fact you've never played the piano before you were seventeen. Please tell me how music have changed your live. Was there a certain situtation or moment when it just made click and you know music is your calling?

Funsho Ogundipe: Music has always been there. To me it was only natural.

Q: Where do you see your progress as a musician in the ten years with your band Ayetoro?

Funsho Ogundipe: Interesting. The journey is really the reward in itself. Meeting musicians from different countries and performing together is fantastic. Also learning how to be a band leader and adjusting to the different processes involved in playing live and recording albums in the stuidio. As a musician I cannot be still. I have to create. so the journey has been good for a man of my temprament.

Q: Although you've formed Ayetoro in Nigeria The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I were recorded in London (UK). Why?

Funsho Ogundipe: I recorded in London because I now live there. I keep two formations for touring and recording. One in lagos and another in London. If I recall Keith Jarret once had two versions of a jazz quartet. The American and the European. But seriously right now I have access to some of the best players in the world who are based in London and I intend to use that for the benefit of the music.

Q: One of the songs on the album is called The Revenge Of The Flying Monkeys. Is there a story behind this rather obscure title?

Funsho Ogundipe: Evolution allows the oppressed to defeat the oppressor!

Q: The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I album has the subtitle The Jazz Side Of Afrobeat. In which way is this album different from the other Ayetoro releases? And how do you describe the sound of Ayetoro?

Funsho Ogundipe: It is perhaps a bit different in that for the first time my piano voicings on the rhodes and also the arrangements were reflecting the roots of the music in modal jazz. Stuff like rootless voicings and arranging some horn riffs in fourths. Ayetoro's sound is the Ayetoro sound. As the composer i cannot objectively describe my sound. But you the listener can. Probably!

Q: You've also worked as a lawyer and head of corporate finance for the Prudent Merchant Bank. So I guess you may have a deeper insight into Nigerian politics and economics. What do you think is wrong in Nigeria, a country that has large oil fields but is still a third world country with most of its people being poor.

Funsho Ogundipe: Both the leadership and also the people have to take responsibility for the current state of things. Our path to nationhood has not been helped by certain tricky issues like corruption, tribalism etc. but I feel these issues are the test we have to pass before we can emerge as a nation. A lot will depend on the genuineness of the intellectual class.

Q: And what would you do change to enable the majority of the people to participate in the wealth of the countries natural resources?

Funsho Ogundipe: Pass a law mandating all offficial and academic instruction be done in Nigerian languages. A lot of Africans complain about their inability to understand affairs of the state when these are conducted in colonial languages. That is true but even more damaging is our refusal to educate ourselves in our own languages. This will allow us to share global concepts and ideas and relate to them. If we do that a lot will fall into place. Trust me!

Q: Your website mentiones a live DVD of a concert in Lagos and a volume II of the Afrobeat Chronicles. Please tell me more about these releases. Are they already available?

Funsho Ogundipe: The Live in Lagos DVD will be available as an import in europe from October this year [i.e. 2006]. Vol 2 of the Afrobeat Chronicles has just being recorded and release date is 1st July.

Q: What do you think of remixes of your songs to attract a wider audience? In my opinion especially the track Yoruba Boyz Club would be a good choice to benefit from an extended version or a remix. I think this song has the potential to become a cross over hit.

Funsho Ogundipe: We'll see.

Q: As an independent musicians what do you think of the state of the music industry these days? Do you think there's really a need for major labels with the internet as a way to get one's music directly to the listener?

Funsho Ogundipe: It is still too early to tell. Most artists seem to use the net as a way of getting signed by a major. Sure there are some of us who dont but I think the key issue is whether you want a label behind you or not.

Q: Your myspace profile already features four new songs from Afrobeat Chronicles Vol II. One of the songs, Oga, even features vocals. Who sings on Oga and what's the reason to extent the sound of Ayetoro with vocals? And when will Vol. II be released?

Funsho Ogundipe: I sing on Oga! It is not first time I have done that. On a compilation called The Original Afrobeat I have a tune titled Our Man Is Gone (A Tribute To Fela Kuti). Also in Nigeria I scored a top 50 radio hit with a song called Something Dey which has an accompanying video which can be seen on my website. So the Ayetoro sound has especially in Nigeria had at least one vocal track on an album. There is a Nigeria only album titled 6000 Miles And A Minute which features at least three tracks with vocals.

Q: On first listen it sounds to me like Ayetoro's sound is going more into a jazz direction than into an afro(beat) direction. Where do you see the difference and your growth as a musican between Vol I and II?

Funsho Ogundipe: This direction is Afrobeat as I know it. Afrobeats roots are in jazz and then funk in that order. I share that with Fela Kuti that my first love is for the jazz music. If you listen to throughout his career he was able to move stylistically acrooss genres. Afro Cuban, funk, psychadelia etc. In fact listen to Fela's tune titled Ololufe on the Los Angeles 69 sessions and then also Eighty One by Miles Davis on the ESP album and you will hear that they have similar basslines. They are both blues based song forms. There are also anecdotes by people like Lester Bowie to the effect that when he first met Fela to prove he was a jazz trumpet player, the Lester Bowie from the states, who he, Fela, dug he had to play along to the blues on a Jamey Abersold long player. Now what is different is the degree to which we use the techniques. Fela's music is his interpretation mine is mine. But we are still playing the same music. As a keyboard player he dispensed with chromaticism and other pianistic techniques because he wanted to get a certain sound that of early missionary churchs will were popular in West Africa then. I feel the language of jazz allows me to play both sophisticated and primal music at the same time. Also like tropicalia afrobeat is also a musical canivore.
Vol 1 was recorded in an afternoon while Vol 2 has been a more planned and detailed process involved with different players and more instrumentation that I am hearing like bass clarinet, cello and other kinds of stuff. Also for Vol 2 I believe my chops are still getting better. As a piano player my articultion is getting better while on the eletric pianos, like the rhodes and the wurlitzer, I am able to draw out more in terms of sound and mood. You know like adding colour to a painting. You can make it sparse or rich depending on your vision.

Q: What else can we expect from you in the future besides Vol II of the Afrobeat Chronicles? Will there be gigs to promote the new album? If so, where?

Funsho Ogundipe: I hope to do an orchestral album and work with some choirs in Africa as well. There are some gigs lined up. Details will come later.

For more infos visit ayetoro.com, sternsmusic.com, cdbaby.com, Funsho's blog and read my review of The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. I (The Jazz Side Of Afrobeat). - Jazz not Jazz


1. Naija Blues (1996)

2. The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol 1 (The Jazz side of Afrobeat) (2002)

3. 6000 Miles and a Minute (2004)

4. Omo Obokun The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol 2 (2006)

5. Asoju Oba (2012)



Ayetoro is an internationally acclaimed Afrobeat band led by one of Nigeria's most talented composers and pianists Funsho Ogundipe. Ogundipe's remarkable story has had him train and work as a barrister, stockbroker and corporate financier before following his dream to be a musician like his heroes Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and Duke Ellington.

He began playing piano at age 17 and was a regular at Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti's Shrine, but formally launched into the Nigerian music scene in 1998 with his top 50 hit Something Dey, a blues-flavoured piano-driven tune from an album of the same title. This tune became the template for a post Fela Afrobeat. After establishing the bands place on the nigerian afrobeat scene.

Ogundipe moved to London beginning a musical journey that has shot him onto live performances on many world stages alongside other notables, while maintaining working bands in Nigeria, Ghana & UK.

Although heavily influenced by Afrofuturist big band projects such as Sun Ras Arkestra, Miles Daviss electric groups and Fela Kutis various outfits, Ayetoro is no mere funk-jazz Afrobeat revival band. The collectives members are all established musicians in Lagos, Accra and London, with a rhythmic fluidity that bridges the gap between Afrobeat, Jazz and Funk with reflections on the past and present of both genres.

The group has been involved with changing the sound of Afrobeat with each album. In 1996 Ayetoro was the first group to fuse Hip-hop with Afrobeat with the album Naija Blues track JT's Tale, featuring the late great rapper and actor JT West.

Ayetoros albums (Afrobeat Chronicles Vol 1 & 2) successfully demonstrate the bands immense musical growth in one decade as well as show in energy and musical diversity, the futuristic directions of their music, directed with maturity and confident expertise on the piano. The one constant with the band remains its quality of the musicianship. Featuring the best instrumentalists available inevitably meant collaborations with outstanding Jazz musicians in their own rights like, Byron Wallen the trumpeter, guitar player Jim Mullen (Average White Band) and bass player Orefo Orakwue.

The bands 5th album Asoju Oba (2012) was a testament to the time Ogundipe spent in Nigeria. The introductory EP includes rapper Skillz aka Akinyemi Ogundipe and Lady Jay Wah from Ghana. According to Ogundipe, 'The future of Afrobeat and Jazz will be where we want it to be, small or big band, Hiphop, experimental or avant garde, playing to a worldwide audience on our terms'. Ayetoro will release its 6th album in 2014.

According to Ogundipe, The future of Afrobeat and Jazz will be where we want it to be, small or big band, Hiphop, experimental or avant garde, playing to a worldwide audience on our terms.


Band Members