The world lost its best drummer Tony Allen Yesterday April 30, 2020.
The maestro was aged 79. This is a celebration of his life and legacy.
Nigeria’s Tony Allen co-originated Afrobeat with Fela Kuti who famously declared that ‘Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat’. The genre became a sound of resistence, loved and copied around the world and which back home in Lagos, inspired the new age genre- Afrobeats which put Nigeria’s pop music on the world map in the past decade.
Tony Allen’s extensive music trajectory has been wildly documented audio-visually, in literature , on the internet and evidently in his discography. Since the 60s where he became the musical director of Fela’s band from 1968- 1979 and after they parted ways over personal choices, both remained collaborators, with Tony Allen actively performing music till the very end of his life. We have been so blessed and lucky.
Here are 7 epic times when the Afrobeat King made us say ‘Yeah Yeah’.
1. When Fela’s band just transitioned from being called Koola Lobitos to Africa 70 in the late 60s and them with Tony Allen recorded the epic and groovy track Witchcraft in 1969.
2. With his masterful art and swing in the Fela Kuti hit song Roforofo fight from 1972.
3. In 1976 when he, Fela Kuti, the band and America’s Sandra Izsadore featured on the heavy hitter Upside Down and his drumming seemed to defy gravity.
4. When he split from Fela Kuti leaving with some members of his band and eventually teamed up with Fela and Africa 70 with his first solo album and the singled named after the album.
5. 2010 was the year Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela would cross paths during their tours. Their shared love for Fela and Afrobeat made them decide to record a joint album. Rejoice was released finally in 2019, one year after the legendary South African trumpeter passed. The album showed the minimalist side of Afrobeat. May their beautiful souls rock in peace. We especially love track 4- Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
6. His Drum Masterclass with young people in 2016 hosted by Boiler Room UK.
7. And last but never least, a Friday Flashback to when he released his genial soul piercing single Go Back featuring Damon Albarn from his 2014 album Film of life.
Rest in Power, King. Thank you for the heavy groove.
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