Kouakou Yao "Angelo," master drummer and dancer, was born in Bouake, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa. At age 14 he joined Koteba, the premier Ivoirean dance and theater company, and he toured the world with that troupe from 1992 to 1997.
He was invited to the United States in 1997 by choreographer Ralph Lemon to create "Geography," a fusion of post-modern movement and traditional African dance. This production was performed at Yale Repertory Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and elsewhere throughout the United States. Angelo moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1998, where he formed AFRIQUE AYA. The company performed and taught residencies and workshops in colleges and schools around the New England area.
In 2002, Angelo and his wife Jennifer Clay moved to Northwest Arkansas, first to Eureka Springs and, in 2010, to Fayetteville. AFRIQUE AYA now performs and teaches in schools and at private events throughout the Mid-South. Angelo also teaches weekly drum and dance classes in Eureka Springs and Fayetteville, Arkansas.