British-born of Nigerian parents, Amayo‘s spirit was first ignited at Fela’s club, The Shrine, in Lagos, Nigeria. While growing up in Lagos, his primary passions were dancing and practicing Kung Fu to the rhythms of funk and Afrobeat. It was then that the seed of Afrobeat was first implanted within him.
As the lead singer, percussionist for Antibalas, Amayo has ignited festival crowds and packed audiences into a frenzy across four continents. Continuing in the tradition of Fela Kuti, Amayo presents the world with his one-of-a-kind style of music, dance, and martial arts – FU-ARKIST-RA. In addition to composing and arranging all the songs, Amayo sings and plays piano and organ intermixed with charged performances of traditional African lyrics and movement. He has opened for James Brown, performed with The Roots, Tony Allen, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Baaba Maal, and with Michael Franti and Spearhead.
As Sifu, he is a senior master of the Jow Ga Kung Fu School of martial arts, rooted in the ancient Shaolin school. He has been studying, performing, and teaching Kung Fu for 25 years. He recently choreographed a Kung fu/movement piece for the Washington Ballet, and has guest taught hundreds of NYC public school children for the National Dance Institute. Sifu Amayo has also trained and performed the role of the Lion Head in traditional Chinese Lion Dance for over 20 years. The Ancient Chinese Lion Dance is one of China’s most celebrated traditions. It is a high-energy performance where professional martial artists don the elaborately decorated two-person Chinese Lion body (head and tail), bringing to life a rich oral history that spans many generations of Chinese folklore. The Lion is a symbol of strength and prosperity and is considered to be good luck by all who cross its path. Sifu Amayo begins his one of a kind FU-show by calling the lion to life, performing a salutation ritual and paving the way for dance and celebration of our limitless possibilities. The Lion may be playful and happy, fierce, or bashful, depending on the mood.