(4 mins read)
Legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen died on Wednesday the 30th of April of a heart attack in Paris. He is widely known in Africa as one of the co-founders of the Afrobeat musical genre and one of the best drummers to have ever lived.
Afrobeat combines elements of West Africa’s fuji music and highlife styles with American funk and jazz. Read more about African music here. Allen’s career and life were documented in his 2013 autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat. Mr. Allen, born in Lagos in 1940, taught himself how to play drums when he was 18. He learned his techniques by listening closely to American jazz drummers such as Max Roach. Allen perfected his own unique style landing him the spot working with the father of Afrobeats Fela Kuti, where they created highlife jazz in 1964. Allen and Fela went on to record dozens of albums in Africa, 70, including Gentleman and Zombie. When Allen left the band in 1979, Fela needed four separate drummers to fill in Allen’s shoes. Mr. Kuti himself said that “without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat”.
Allen then traveled the world before migrating to London and then Paris. During this time he collaborated with a number of artists worldwide.
Many musicians around the world paid their tributes to this African giant. Such as Beninois singer Angelique Kidjo, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest, Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and many more.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.
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