Ezra Collective Drops New Single "Ajala"

The band has announced dates for an extensive 2024 tour alongside the track’s release.

Music
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Update: Ezra Collective has officially released “Ajala,” its latest single, on streaming platforms and also dropped an exclusive live, solo-driven iteration of the track via YouTube. A fast-paced slapper backed by the band’s signature danceable groove, “Ajala” sees drummer Femi Koleoso and bassist TJ Koleoso hold up a double-time rhythm, buoyed by Joe Armon-Jones’ floating synths and the triumphant horn work of trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi and tenor saxophonist James Mollison. Besides the release of the track, the band has also announced an extensive tour that starts in New York July 7, and crisscrosses Europe before a homecoming concert at OVO Arena Wembley on November 15.

Check out the live performance above, head to Ezra Collective’s website for a full list of tour dates and tickets and read the original article below for more info on the inspirations behind “Ajala.”


Original Story: Ezra Collective has announced the release of “Ajala,” a new single that’s their first piece of music since winning the coveted Mercury Prize in September 2023. Recorded during an October 2023 trip to Lagos, Nigeria — and seemingly heavily influenced by the band’s experiences during the trip, if the video teaser posted on its Instagram page is anything to go off of — it’s set to drop Wednesday, April 24.

Nigeria and Nigerian culture play a large role in Ezra Collective’s unique sound. Three of the five members — drummer Femi Koleoso, bassist TJ Koleoso and trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi — are of Nigerian descent, and, among the many types of music present in their oeuvre, Afrobeats and the stylings of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti (plus his drummer Tony Allen) can be heard across the band’s tracks, with Ezra Collective even covering Kuti’s “Lady” in January 2023.

The song’s title draws from the exploits of Nigerian writer Ọlábísí Àjàlá, who’s best known for his 1963 memior An African Abroad, which tells the tales of his travels across Asia, African and Oceania on a Vespa scooter. It’s also a nod to a bit of Youruba (one of the languages spoken in Nigeria) slang, namely a term used to describe someone who can’t sit still or is always traveling — similar to Ọlábísí Àjàlá himself.

The members of Ezra Collective have also been staying busy with individual projects since their Mercury Prize win, with Joe Armon-Jones dropping Wrong Side of Town, a dub-focused EP, though his Aquarii Records label and Ife Ogunjobi releasing Stay True, his first project as a bandleader, just days after the band’s Mercury Prize win. Where I’m Meant To Be, the album that secured the group the prize, also received a set of five remixes as part of a recent “Deluxe Edition” reissue.

As mentioned above, expect “Ajala” to touch down on all streaming platforms come Wednesday, April 24.

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