Babatunde “Aiyekooto” Akerele in conversation with Ntone Edjabe

Babatunde “Aiyekooto” Akerele leads a Helsinki-based band called Aiyekooto & Afrobeat International.

Nigerian born afrobeat musician, composer, arranger and lead singer Babatunde Akerele aka Aiyekooto (b.1966) moved to Finland in 2005, with the assistance of Finnish colleague, guitar player and recording artist Seppo ”Paarma” Salmi. Back in 2003, in Nigeria, they had released a single together, Falana (mind your own business). It got a positive response and radio play on the local stations. When they settled to live in Helsinki, the band Aiyekooto & Afrobeat International was formed, consisting of top musicians, many having a work history in well-known bands of the local rhythm music scene. The band is co-led by Aiyekooto and Salmi.

During the years, the band has managed to gain credit as a powerful live unit within the audience dedicated to the Finnish scene. As proof for their intense gigs, they were awarded as Band of the Year in the 2007 Funky Awards, which are handed out annually to outstanding Finnish talent. With the album Olurombi, it’s time to conquer bigger audiences.

Olurombi was released in Finland September 2013 (label: Suomen Musiikki) as CD / LP+CD / digital. The single cut was called Yanke (join me in my dance). Sung in Yoruba, this up-tempo call for dance is irresistible, and a prime example of the entire album. Even if the music follows traditions set in Nigeria by the likes of Fela Kuti, Aiyekooto’s music is no pastiche, but the groove has softer undertones and, above all, its own manifestation, not to forget the powerful message.


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