Duke University Press published the book “Tony Allen: An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat”. Lovers of the genre and, in general lovers of world music, known as the drummer Allen thanks to which Fela Kuti invented the Afrobeat sound that has coincided with a series of musical elements and political that, from Nigeria, have “invaded” the whole world from the beginning of the seventies. The book was written by Allen along with Michael E. Veal, musician and professor of Music and African American Studies at Yale University, and already the author of the biography of the revolutionary saxophonist born in Abeokuta in 1938, titled “Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon”.
Born in Lagos in 1940, Allen learned very young to play drums, then militating in many bands of the city, including “Agu Norris and the Heatwaves”, “The Paradise Melody Angels” and “The Western Toppers”. In 1964 he met Fela Kuti, with whom he will play first in the “Koola Lobitos” and then in the legendary “Africa 70″ , conceiving the “technical” idea of afrobeat, fusing traditional rhythms with which he had grown up with models and new techniques of jazz, funk and R & B (who had the opportunity to appreciate and study during a long stay in the USA in 1969). To appreciate his contribution in structuring afrobeat, just think that when Allen left the “Africa 70″, for reasons related to political activism of Fela Kuti, he replaced him with four drummers.
Today Allen is 73 years old and lives in Paris since 1985. He made several albums and, above all, important collaborations with African and western artists, including Damon Albarn, King Sunny Ade and Jimi Tenor.
And his spirit is still the same, as can be seen from this statement: “I still challenge myself every time with my playing. I still want to play something impossible, something I never played before”.
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