This is a stunning debut CD, easily as accomplished as the first from Norah Jones, but without receiving the advertising necessary to achieve the same exposure and momentum. The production is clear, natural and sparse. The influence rhythmic rather than jazz. The lyrics are heartfelt and genuine, expressed with emotion. This solo singer / songwriter has been given the just reward for her ability, with superb session musicians enhancing the beauty and sheer quality of her material and performance. This should be an award winning CD. Buy with confidence - it will become one of your favourites!
The most important information about this great singer and guitar player has already been said. So what makes her debut CD special in my opinion? I think it is the honesty and passion with which Ayo is making music. Instead of singing about those superficial mainstream topics, her lyrics have depth and she really means it. That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't any "feel-good-songs" - African rhythms provide for that.
Ayo is a great musician who should be up there with the likes of Tracy Chapman for example. Apart from her second album "Gravity at last" she also features her husband Patrice on his new work "FreePatriAtion".
I first heard her voice standing in M&S, totally bored as most men are while waiting for women to browse in hunting mode when shopping. You find men like me lounging on walls half asleep. I found her voice lovely and the lyrics different. I found something interesting in M&S at last! I asked the assistants, who was the person singing on the piped music system? no one seemed to know, the young ones one's were vacant and the older one's were stuck in a time warp of the seventies and eighties. Searching the Amazon web site for African music I came upon this artist I had no idea what I was purchasing, bingo!! it was the singer I had heard in M&S. A lovely voice lovely songs, buy it. Shopping is no longer as depressing as it used to be, I now have an interest, listening to piped music searching for new artists.
Born near Cologne, Germany in 1980, her father Nigerian and her mother a Romanian Gypsy, singer/songwriter Ayo meaning joy in the Nigerian language Yoruba) releases an album titled Joyful that reflects her diverse up bringing.
According to her website Ayo grew up listening to artists such as Pink Floyd, Fela Kuti, and Bob Marley. This album does have a strong reggae feel interwoven with folk, soul, African and European sounds.
With "Down On My Knees", "How Many Times", "It's Supposed To Be Love", "Life Is Real", "Help Is Coming" and "Neva Been" being the standout tracks.
With a pleasant, soft & eclectic voice, Ayo appears to be a voice that we might hear a lot of in the future. For people who like something different.
(NB: The letter "o" in Ayo should have a dot underneath it to show that the word means joy in Yoruba, unfortunately Amazon's system converts this character into a square when previewed, apologies to Ayo).
Bought this CD purely on the strength of an Amazon recomendation. The case was different from that advertised but great music and a lovely new discovery as didn't know this artist previously. India Arie fans et al will love this young lady, so give her a try if you aren't into the main stream.