Photo by Róisin Murphy O’Sullivan
By Clare Martin
Tolü Makay’s latest single, “Aye,” bursts with unadulterated joy. Makay, who hails from Nigeria and grew up in the Irish midlands, beautifully blends African pop and dance music with collaborator and producer Enda Gallery.
“Aye” is the second song off her debut album, due out in early 2022. Makay draws upon traditional Nigerian percussion such as the conga and talking drum for the track’s stirring sound.
“Aye means life in Yoruba,” she explains. “A lot of what makes us who we are comes from our childhood. I want this song to celebrate life and the child we forget we were. We are who we are because of that child. I added my oriki which my grandmother blessed me with, she sings it in this song. Oriki is a Yoruba ‘attributive epithets’ you’re given. Who you are called forth to be. I hope this song brings joy and awakens your inner child.”
Makay had hoped to travel back to Nigeria to record the song, but when those plans fell through she instead worked with producer friends from Nigeria, who assembled a choir of kids for the chorus. Their enthusiastic cries of “Aye” are like sonic rays of sunshine, bound to brighten your day.
“I was literally on the phone for 6 hours working remotely with the kids as well as the Nigerian percussionist we hired for the day (an absolute legend), he played the shakers, conga, talking drum. It was intense and I really wish I was there in person, yet despite the current travel bans, we still managed to create this magical track,” Makay recalls.
As for the artist herself, her vocals are as breath-taking as ever, climbing gracefully into the stratosphere. Every aspect of the song evokes a sense of euphoria.
Embrace your inner child and listen to “Aye” below.