An award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, Kunle’s folk and soul music bridges contemporary styles with roots in West African rhythms and stories. Nigerian-born and currently based in Toronto, Kunle combines his rich vocals, guitar tapping, harmonica and talking drum to take audiences into what he terms “music with no boundaries.”
Kunle’s music is grounded in oral history traditions and often starts from a West African riddle or proverb and pulls rhythms and sounds from different cultures to tell a story. An example is his song “Ori Okere Lawo” from Kunle Live In Accra 2017, where he narrates a proverb about listening to advice and accompanies the story with an acoustic melody and rhythmic finger picking pattern based on Yoruba folklore. The effect is a richly melodic and contemporary style of West African tradition and music.
Having completed a role as the music director, composer and performer for Stratford Festival’s 2022 production of Death and The King’s Horseman by nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka, nominated for the 2022 Ontario Premier Award – Creative Arts and Design, and in studio for his debut full-length self-titled album Kunle, there is no doubt that the last 3 years have been a year of intense creativity and accomplishment.
He worked with Juno Award-winning Afro-Canadian artist Tome, including her sold-out headlining show Afrofest Ottawa 2021 and shared the stage with Juno award-winning artist Julian Taylor, Dione Taylor, Terra Lightfoot, and Tom Wilson. He co-produced Barbadian Vincent Jamal’s EP project “Emotional Intelligence, Ghanaian-Canadian artist Paakwesi and co-wrote Emily Falls- a German-based band’s debut EP project.
In 2021, he was the featured act for the city of Vaughan Black History Month celebration and headlined both the Vaughan International Music Festival and Vaughn Music In The Square concert series. He is also a Furch Guitar (Czech Republic) and Stonebridge Guitar (Canada) artist and a board member of the Centennial College music program advisory committee and AMIBA-African Multitude International Black Arts.
In 2019, Kunle supported the Nigerian international touring act Adekunle Gold in the Toronto portion of his North American tour at Mod Club Theatre to a sold-out audience and also showcased the fusion of contemporary roots music with string instrumentation in a concert he directed and headlined alongside a five-piece band and string quartet at the Alliance Française d’Accra Amphitheatre in Ghana. A Canadian delegation attended the performance, and the High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana, Dr. Heather Cameron, tweeted: “Great concert by Kunle @AFAccra. Thanks for bringing some new Canadian music to Accra! Looking forward to your next visit.”
Kunle has performed at Muskoka Festival, VIMF Vaughan 2021, Mariposa Folk Festival Canada, Habari African Festival Canada, Maawanji’iding: Festival Canadiana Owen Sound, Summer Folk: A Month Of Sundays Aboard MS Chi-Cheemaun, Ossfest Toronto Canada 2017, YYZ Live- Toronto Pearson Canada 2017, Asiko World Festival 2015, Blue Skies Folk Festival 2016, Peterborough Folk Festival Canada 2017, Africa Day Festival Hamburg, Germany 2018 and 2019 and for the first time at the 42nd annual Summerfolk Festival 2018.