Ayo makes American debut with recent ‘Joyful’ album

Nicole Sharp

Her voice can entertain even the pickiest of music aficionados.

In her American debut album “Joyful” Ayo uses her soulful chords to take the listener on a ride through the experiences common to most everyone during their lifetime.

Her voice is unusual, a combination of jazz and Bohemian with a just a hint of Ella Fitzgerald (one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century).

The 27-year-old artist, whose name means “joy” in Yoruba, first made it big in Paris, where she held solo concerts, just her and her guitar.

She has previously opened for Omar, the self-acclaimed British “soul brother” and played with Cody Chesnutt.

“I’m definitely somewhat Bohemian by nature, preferring a nomad lifestyle. Moving around the world has allowed me to develop who I am,” she stated on her official website www.ayomusic.com. “I’ll never be happy being sedentary. I’m too spontaneous and I care too little about material things to plan the future.”

Her Bohemian style is very evident in this CD. I first heard it when I was driving over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I found myself stuck in traffic and yelling at the person ahead of me to hurry up, even though we weren’t moving.

I put Ayo’s CD into the player and was greeted with the first track, “Down on My Knees.” I became intrigued by this new voice, never even thinking to listen to her. I became entranced by the words and soon fell in love with the CD by the fourth song.

The songs on the CD address the usual topics of love, friendship, and life. But with the first song, Ayo’s lyrics, “Cause I loved you unconditionally/I was willing for you to die, cause you were more precious to me, than my own life,” enveloped me with its rich, relaxing feeling.

With a mixture of steel guitar, mandolin, piano, and a various collection of instruments, Ayo has created a CD that is surely to be enjoyed by any audience.

She currently is set to play in several cities on the east coast, including Philadelphia, Boston, and Atlanta.