Like the saying “tough times build tough people”: There are situations in life that are meant to break us but same situations can be the boost we need to actualise our goals in life. This is a true story of grass to grace of Ayan Ayantola Early days in the UK who out of frustration was forced to perform Nigeria’s cultural music at London underground stations in other to survive. The bitter experience he encountered made him Europe most celebrated talking drummer today. Meet ‘Ayan De First’ Multi Award winner, Global Cultural Icon and a visual Artist.
At the age of just 5 Ayan received a special gift from his Dad with an instruction: “My son take this, handle it with care and you will never lack with it”. Ayan was born into a family of Cultural entertainers where he started his career as an apprentice performing with his dad and uncles. Growing up Ayan had the ambition as a science student to work in the medical field but his special talent in music took the driver seat on his career . Ayan ended up attending courses in Arts/design & graphic studio to enhance his skills and It was these exceptional skills that gave him the opportunity after he was spotted at an exhibition at the German cultural centre in Lagos which paved a way for him to secure a work permit to the United kingdom to work as a teacher teaching african contemporary arts and working hand in hand with over 500 private & community schools also with different Boroughs / Councils in UK on different projects to promote multi-cultural values, community cohesion and inclusion.
Arriving in the UK, Ayan could not help but notice the state of African culture in the UK, he described it as not properly represented and the originality missing. Ayan took it upon himself to be the man who will make the change of bringing African culture and entertainment to the right level, but this can’t be possible without him making some sort of sacrifice. Ayan had to take a break from his teaching job in other to concentrate on promoting African art and culture all over England. Now without a payed job Ayan was struggling to make ends meet and he remembered the words of his dad about the drum as a back up for survival, Ayan took his drum went straight to a London underground station it was his luck day earning £7. Ayan happy with his progress moved to another London underground station Clapham north to be precise but he met a hostile situation as he was thrown out of the station by the securities as they found his style of music annoying and not welcomed in the society. After this encounter Ayan became even more determined to take african music to its greatest height by not giving up and continuing to spread the gospel and this led to his first major break of performing for the Labour Party election campaign with Harrieth Hamman MP for camberwell and Peckham constituency Under the leadership of Tony Blair in 1997. After this Ayan became the first Talking Drummer to perform for Her Majesty The Queen And The Royal Family at Buckingham Palace London during Golden Jubilee celebration.
Some other notable performance was for HRH Prince Charles & Duchess of Cornwall Camila Parker Bowles at St James’s Palace, Sir Richard Bramson (Virgin Atlantic) ,Lord Mayor of London, Former Nigeria president Rtd, Abubakar, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, Simon Hughes MP,Peter Mandelson, Alaafin of Oyo, Ooni of Ife, Oba of Lagos, CEO Medview Airline and many performance at different recognised venues and festivals across Europe including United Nation building London, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Ronnie Scotts & Somerset House in London.
Many of Ayan’s achievements includes him being the first talking drummer to appear on all British Television Channels & CNN, as well as in British and Nigeria national & local newspapers/ Magazines. He also broke a record as the first African performer to entertain guests on British Television Channel 4 programme called ”Come Dine With Me” and also performed for a boxer Isaac Chamberlain during a boxing match.
Ayan who is the first professional talking drummer but prefers to be addressed as a cultural promoter have had several collaboration with many famous music icon all over the world. some of this artist includes the likes of King Sunny Ade, Late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Sir Shina Peters, Weird MC, Salawa Abeni, D Banj,Yinka Ayefele, Jeff Tain Watts American Jazz musician, Adewale Ayuba and many more.
And finally Ayan is the CEO of Oduduwa talking drummers a group that performs at corporate events, wedding, birthday parties, concerts and festivals. Ayan has a total of 24 Awards with many certificates and medals to his name. He advices all Africans most especially in the diaspora to embrace and promote our African culture with pride and also make efforts to guide our children so they can have a proper understanding of their cultural heritage and background. Ayan runs classes on drumming, arts and cultural heritage teaching every Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoons, One to one lessons is also available. For any of the services mentioned above contact Ayan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Telephone on 07956482148.
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