Tony Allen, the pioneering drummer who was a member of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s band, Africa 70, has died. Tony Allen (Drummer) Bio, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Fella Kuti, Net Worth. THE INVENTOR OF RHYTHM #Afrobeat, — MAJOR LAZER (@MAJORLAZER) April 30, 2020. He lived in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris. “You listen to it flowing like a river,” Mr. Allen explained in a 2016 interview with The Guardian. We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Tony Oladipo Allen was born on Aug. 12, 1940, in Lagos, then the capital of Nigeria. In the Noughties, Allen worked with musicians such as Albarn, Flea (from Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Jeff Mills, releasing his last album Rejoice, a collaboration with the late Hugh Masekela, in March 2020. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. His manager confirmed the news overnight, adding the Nigerian-born musician’s death was not linked to Covid-19. Allen was born in Lagos, Nigeria and took a fancy to drumming after studying jazz percussionists like Art Blakey and Gene Krupa. God bless your beautiful soul. Although Fela and Africa 70 recorded extensively and performed regularly at his club, the Shrine, Fela was repeatedly arrested and beaten. On albums, many of Fela’s 1970s Afrobeat songs stretched the length of an LP side. It like night falling in daylight TONY ALLEN," a third expressed their sadness. “The greatest drummer on Earth has left us,” he began. His manager, Eric Trosset, said the cause was an abdominal aortic aneurysm. “I still want to play something impossible, something that I never played before. Allen’s career and life story have been documented in his 2013 autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat, co-written with author/musician Michael E. Veal, who previously wrote a comprehensive biography of Fela Kuti. In 1987 he married Sylvie Nicollet. Tony Allen was a drummer, composer and also a songwriter for Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Allen died in Paris, France, on Thursday, April 30. Flea led tributes to the drummer, writing on Instagram: “The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this Earth has left us. In 1964 he auditioned for Fela Ransome-Kuti, who was putting together a jazz band, beginning a 15-year musical alliance that survived chronic disputes over getting paid. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Born in Nigeria, the self-taught Allen served as the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti's band Africa '70 in the 1960s and 1970s, which created and perfected the highly influential Afrobeat sound. Mr. Allen soon found work in Lagos highlife bands and groups that played whatever was popular. It was f**king heavenly. With Fela Kuti, the co-creator of Afrobeat. ( Log Out / A longtime fan, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, appeared on Mr. Allen’s 2002 album, “Home Cooking,” starting a long affiliation. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Tributes have flooded in across the music industry, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a collaborator of Allen’s, sharing an image of the drummer to Instagram with a lengthy statement. Rapper Biz Markie compared Allen’s influence on popular music to that of Bo Diddley, a pivotal figure in the transition from the blues to rock and roll. When the band returned to Nigeria, Fela renamed it first Nigeria 70 and then Africa 70. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Mr. Allen was backed by Africa 70 on his 1979 album, “No Accommodation for Lagos,” but he struggled to start his own band in Nigeria. , a collaboration with the late Hugh Masekela, in March 2020. Fela once stated that, “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.”, In 2017, Fela’s son, Femi Kuti said to Rolling Stone: “There was no band like the Africa 70 and there is no drummer like Tony Allen.”. Simply the best. On Twitter, Peter Gabriel wrote, “As a musician & aspiring drummer, it was thrilling to get lost in their new, smart, sexy & political music full of killer grooves.”. Tony was reportedly still performing and recording up to his death and earlier this year he released Rejoice, a collaboration with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Just grooving high, grooving deep. It was f***ing heavenly. The cause of his death has not been revealed. Allen has also been described by Brian Eno as “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”. order back issues and use the historic Daily Express ‘I lit up like a Christmas tree every time I knew we were about to lay down some rhythm. “They are all playing something different, which means you need to split your mind into four elements with the one central idea running through.”, Martin Perna, the founder of the Brooklyn-based Afrobeat band Antibalas, which performed with Mr. Allen in the 2000s, said Mr. Allen “was the embodiment of rhythm.” He added, “What’s so magical is with all that variation, he’s somehow more hypnotic than a pattern that doesn’t change.”. We partied in Nigeria, we partied around Europe, and it was always about the music. Change ), https://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2020/5/felas-ex-drummer-tony-allen-dies-in-france-at-the-age-of-79-2.html, Buhari to Christians at Easter: Covid-19, matter of life and death, Juventus star, Paulo Dybala ‘tests positive for Coronavirus for fourth time in six weeks’. After he left Africa 70 in 1979, Mr. Allen went on to an international solo career, leading his own bands and collaborating with rock, jazz, reggae, R&B and electronic musicians. The cause of his death has not been revealed. He was 79 years old. He joined Kuti’s band Koola Lobitos in the mid-1960s and developed a unique style of drumming that incorporated African rhythms and jazz beats. Allen, who is credited as a co-founder of the Afrobeat genre, was the drummer and musical director of musician Fela Kuti’s famous band Africa ’70 in the 1960-70s. TWITTER Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. 8:03 PM PDT 4/30/2020 Tony Allen I love you, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to rock with you. “That’s the way the drums should be played, man.”. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. He was 79. quite sudden. What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. I lit up like a Christmas tree every time I knew we were about to lay down some rhythm… God bless your beautiful soul.”. Afrobeat saddest day. “We don’t know the exact cause of death," he said. He said: ‘Tony Allen’s influence on popular music was so unsung and undercelebrated. The music of Fela and Africa 70 reached listeners and emulators all over the world. It was fucking heavenly. While Allen’s exact cause of death is unknown, Trosset said that it had not been linked to coronavirus. The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. AdChoices | “It was a fusion of beats and patterns. Thank you for giving us the sound that would change our lives and our destiny as a people. “And there is no drummer like Tony Allen.”. He was influenced by a variety of music his father listened to, Yoruba music from the 1940s, American jazz, and the growing highlife scene in Nigeria and Ghana. That’s what I’m after.”, Tony Allen, Drummer Who Created the Beat of Afrobeat, Dies at 79, The drummer Tony Allen in performance in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 2015. He was the eldest of six children of James Alabi Allen, a Nigerian auto mechanic, and Prudencia Anna (Mettle) Allen, whose family was from Ghana. Express. Mr. Allen made more than three dozen albums with Fela and the band, including the indelible “Zombie” and “Gentleman,” as well as solo albums on which Mr. Allen led Africa 70. “He was in great shape; it was quite sudden. Allen was a member of Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70 and appeared on their albums Gentleman and Zombie. He was 79. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. In recent years, Allen played alongside Damon Albarn on multiple projects, including with The Good, The Bad & The Queen, as well as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Air, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and others. In addition to that, the musician was known for his collaborations with Albarn and became a member The Good, The Bad and the Queen, alongside the Blur frontman, Paul Simonon, and The Verve’s Simon Tong. “I spoke to him at 1pm then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital, where he died.”. The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. While in the band, he participated in iconic Afrobeat albums such as 1973’s Gentleman, 1975’s Expensive Shit and 1976’s Zombie. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. His playing was open-ended and improvisatory rather than bluntly repetitive; complex patterns drove a shifting dialogue with every element of the band. In the 1980s, Allen moved to Europe, settling eventually in Paris after stints in London.