Nigerian guitarist Kunle Ayo has completed a project with internationally-renowned Zimbabwean musician Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi. Ayo and Tuku have recorded a song called ‘Ile’, which means home in Kunle’s native Yoruba tongue. The track features the unique talents of both guitarists, whose natural in-studio chemistry makes for a smooth blend of the best that African jazz has to offer.
Kunle Ayo has earned numerous awards for his music over the years, including a Kora Award in 2004, a Channel O Africa Music Video Award in 2005, a Nigerian Achievement award in 2009 and a Metro FM Award in 2011. He has been living in South Africa since around 2002, moving to the country to tap into what he perceived as a more established jazz market. On 4 May 2012 he celebrated 10 years in South Africa bringing Tuku on stage to perform with him. As a producer he has worked with the likes of Simphiwe Dana on her latest album Firebrand (2014), as well as MXO and KB.
Their friendship was also on show more recently when the two artists recently shared a stage at National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July, as well as the the Moretele Park Tribute Concert in Pretoria, South Africa on 29 August. Kunle was recently in Zimbabwe to perform at the Harare Jazz Festival on 19 September.
Tuku himself needs little introduction, having released over 50 albums to be arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular and widely known musician. Like Kunle, he has spent plenty of time in South Africa, although he currently resides in Zimbabwe, where he runs the Pakare Paye Arts Centre in the town of Norton. No stranger to South African audiences, he most recently performed in the country alongside Hugh Masekela at the 2015 Joy Of Jazz festival in Johannesburg on Saturday 26 September.
The new song by Kunle and Tuku, performed in Shona and Yoruba, talks to the importance of home and that feeling of comfort and safety of being at home. 'Ile' inspires a longing for the familiarity of home, regardless of how close or far it is.
The track was released globally on iTunes on 1 September 2015, along with house remix than be downloaded here. Otherwise you can listen to the track via SoundCloud below.