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10 Things You Did Not Know About Afrobeat Legend, Tony Allen

(FILES) On this file photograph taken on June 27, 2010, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs on the Park stage on the ultimate day of the Glastonbury pageant close to Pilton, Somerset. LEON NEAL / AFP


Lately, legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who created afrobeat alongside along with his outdated bandmate Fela Kuti, died all of the sudden on the age of 79. Listed here are some fascinating information in regards to the legend.

1. Tony Oladipo Allen was born to a middle-class Lagos household and taught himself the drums and developed his personal distinctive model by obsessing over jazz drummer heroes from the bebop period together with Artwork Blakey and Max Roach. Within the early 1960s, he grew to become a daily on the Lagos membership circuit which was dominated by the West African highlife sound.

It was throughout this era he first met Fela Ransome Kuti, who was creating a highlife band known as the Koola Lobitos. By 1968/69 that band had developed into Fela’s groundbreaking Afrika 70, led by Allen on drums with Lekan Animashaun on baritone saxophone.

READ ALSO: Legendary Afrobeat Drummer Tony Allen Dies At 79

2. Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band, Africa ’70, within the 60s and 70s. Throughout that point the pair created Afrobeat, combining West African musical kinds similar to highlife and fuji music with US jazz and funk. Afrobeat went on to change into one of many totemic genres of 20th-century African music.

three. Allen and Kuti recorded about 40 albums as Africa ’70, earlier than parting methods after a mythic, 26-year collaboration, with Allen citing Kuti’s disorganisation and money owed to him as the rationale for his departure. Such was the opening that Allen left in his band, Kuti required a number of drummers to exchange him.

four. In 1969, touring the US for the primary time with Kuti, a gathering with west coast jazz drummer Frank Butler impressed him to practise each morning on pillows, making his sticks bounce off them whereas he was rolling. “It adds flexibility,” he mentioned. “Very effective. Effortless – that’s what I tried to catch from [Butler].” As a part of Kuti’s band, he would generally drum for six hours with out a break.

5. Allen taught himself to play drums on the age of 18, drawing inspiration from the US jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, in addition to modern African music. He has attributed his versatility to the necessity to make a residing as a jobbing musician in Lagos within the early 60s. “Latin American, African horns, jazz, highlife … you had to be able to play it all because in the club they asked for it,” he mentioned.

6. His most up-to-date album was ‘Rejoice’, a collaboration with Hugh Masekela. The pair met in Nigeria within the 70s, when Allen was taking part in with Kuti.

7. This yr he deliberate to work on what he described as a “travel album”, taking part in with younger musicians in Nigeria, London, Paris, and the US, “because I want to take care of youngsters – they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat,” he informed the Guardian.

eight. The drummer by no means fairly reached the business highs or political affect of his buddy, he quickly grew to become a cultural icon of recent African music notably after the loss of life of Fela Kuti in 1997. Allen was additionally an enormous critics’ favourite for persevering with to push musical boundaries along with his distinctive drumming sound late into his life.

9. Regardless of coming to the drums comparatively late, the British musician and producer Brian Eno known as Allen “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”.

10. As tributes flooded in throughout the music business, with Pink Scorching Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a collaborator of Allen’s, sharing a picture of the drummer to Instagram with a prolonged assertion. He’s the co-founder of Afrobeat.

‘The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us,’ Flea wrote. ‘What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove.’

He continued: ‘Fela Kuti didn’t invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it collectively. With out Tony Allen, there may be NO afrobeat.

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