About Ayan DeFirst

Ayan De first officially known as Ayan Ayandosu founder and artistic director of Oduduwa Talking Drummers was born to a drummers family and started playing with his Dad and uncles since the early age of five. He attended Methodist primary school between 1974-1979, Baptist Secondary School 1979 –1984, School of arts and design Ile ife 1986-1988, part time course at African Studies Department (Obafemi Awolowo University). In England ,Ayan attended Stockport College Cheshire 1990-1991, Camberwell College of Arts 1999-2000, then London college of printing 2002-2003.

At school he was the drummer for the dramatic society and due to his unique skills he was given the appellation (The Drummer Boy). As a top science student, Ayan had initially aspired to be a medical doctor or pharmacists. However as his ever increasing talent and passion for music continued to expand it became apparent that he was destined to become a musician.

Ayan continued to study Arts and Design, marking the start of his artistic career, which he combined with his love of music and drums. In Nigeria, Ayan appeared in a number of shows and concerts at various venues and locations. He has also exhibited many of his beautiful paintings in Nigeria and other countries, including Togo-Lome, Ivory Coast and Cotonou, France, Germany,Italy and Spain.

Ayan DeFirst was brought to the UK in early 90’s as a full time artist and has since done a lot of concerts and shows as well as educational workshops in over 500 community and private schools within the Uk and the rest of Europe.

Some of these events included the Royal Festival Hall Ronnie Scotts, Royal Albert Hall and the African Centre. He was also chosen to play before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace during the Golden jubilee anniversary. The Queen and the Royal family were highly impressed with his performance that he received a certificate commending his excellent show. Afro Hollywood also presented him with an award in 2003 for this contribution to the development of arts in Europe and “Best Achiever and first and most recognised Talking Drummer in Europe”.

Being the first professional Talking Drummer in Europe, Ayan formed the first ever talking drummer troupe in the Western region in 1999 called Yoruba Talking drummers which later called Royal Talking Drummers but subsequently and finally called Oduduwa Talking Drummers.and (See O.T.D Achievements).

Apart from his achievements with O.T.D, he was the first talking drummer to go on BBC Radio, BBC1, ITV, Granada TV, Sky Channel BEN TV, Sky Channel OBE and Revelation TV. He has also appeared on British National papers such as the “ Times” with the former Northern Ireland Secretary Late Mo-Mowlam,mail on Sunday national newspaper, Other publications that he has appeared on include the Metro, the Evening Standard, Time-Out Magazine as well as a number of Nigerian magazines and newspapers.

Ayan DeFirst si the British Labour Party Talking drummer and has performed at their campaign several occasions for the likes of Harriet Hamman (Labour Deputy Leader) and Peter Mandelson.

He has performed for the Lord Mayor of London, and performed for HRH Prince Charles at St James’s Palace July 2011.


Ayan De first was introduced to African Contemporary art by his uncle Chief Muraina Oyelami (first set of Osogbo artists) and was trained under Adeniji Adeyemi (second set of Osogbo artists) and have worked at many Venues like: Horniman museum London, Preston Arts project Preston-England, Crucible theatre Sheffield –England, Bradford Arts Centre Bradford-England.

Ayan De First has exhibited his artworks at many venues e.g: German Cultural Centre Lagos 1987, French Cultural Centre Ibadan and kaduna –Nigeria 1988, French Cultural Centre Lome- Togoland 1989 and 1990,Gattobar art gallery Lome-Togoland 1991, Projectgrupe stuffineshcel Universitat –Germany 1992,Preston Community Arts Project Preston-Eng 1992, Bradford Arts Centre Bradford Eng 1992, Maclesfield museum Maclesfield-England and 198 Art gallery London 1993.Battersea Affordable Art Fair London 2007,Karleidoscope Gallery Kilburn London 2007,Ipswich Art Gallery 2007 and 2010,Open The Gate Centre Hackney London.

Ayan DeFirst performs yearly at Afro Hollywood awards night for the Nigerian Actors & Actresses. Ayan has also worked with the likes of Peter Badejo (OBE) of Badejo Arts, Bode Lawal (Sakoba Dance Company), Biyi adepegba (Joyful Noise),Femi Elufowoju Jnr, Tiata Fahodzi (Ticket & Ties as well Makinde).

Ayan can play his talking drum to any genre of music including Hip-hop, Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Soul, Pop, Rock, etc…. He has performed with Jeff Tom Watts (an American Jazz musician) and his band. In addition he has worked alongside and played with many top Nigerian groups and singers. These include, Queen, Salawa Abeni, Sir Shina Peters, Yinka Ayefele, Adewale Ayuba, MC Weird, Opelope Anointing, Y.K Ajao Saheed Osupa, Shina Akanni and Soul2Soul. He has also performed with Jide Chord, JJC & 419 Squad. Ayan is a well sought after talking drummer and has played on the following CD’s

  • Miomo Poju Ogun Laye…………………… Micho Ade
  • Festival of love (Pasero Mi)……………..Jide Chord
  • Brown Sugar…………………………….Jide Chord
  • Ijo Ya…………………………………MC Weird
  • Ewajo………………………………….JJC & 419 Squad.
  • Femi Temowo…………………………….Orin Ayo.

Ayan is also an agent for many live bands including gospel, modern and cultural as well as wedding planners, caterers, cake bakers, clowns, MC’s, DJ’s, Hall Decorator and P.A System supplier. Whatever event you are organising, Ayan will hook you with the right person/group to ensure that your event is a success.

To book find out more about Ayan’s services or book him, click here.