Music: Death of Tony Allen, Afrobeat drummer – News Culture: Music

Nigerian musician Tony Allen, drummer and creator of Afrobeat alongside his compatriot Fela Kuti, died Thursday in Paris at 79, his manager told AFP.

“We do not know exactly the cause of death,” said Éric Trosset, while specifying that he was not killed by the Covid-19 virus. “He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1:00 p.m. then two hours later he was sick and was transported to Pompidou hospital where he died, “said the agent. The star lived in Courbevoie, near Paris.

Tony Allen was in the 60s and 70s the drummer and the musical director of his compatriot Fela Kuti, with whom he created afrobeat, a genre in its own right, hypnotic and repetitive music mixing highlife style, Yoruba polyrhythm, jazz, funk and which became one of the fundamental currents of 20th century African music.

Forty albums

On this powerful music, Fela will graft his revolutionary and pan-Africanist words which will make him one of the strongest symbols of the struggle for freedom in Africa. With Fela and the Africa 70 group, he will record around forty albums, before the paths of the two accomplices separate after 26 years of collaboration. His rhythm was so intense that when he left, Fela needed four drummers to replace him.

British musician Brian Eno called Tony Allen “the best drummer ever”.

Self-taught, he started playing at the age of 18 and fed on the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker as well as contemporary African music.

It was always popular with artisans of modern music. He was in charge of the battery for The Good, The Bad and The Queen, one of the projects of Damon Albarn, ex-leader of Blur.

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In France, he participated in the piece by Sébastien Tellier “La Ritournelle”.

(dpa / nxp)

Created: 01.05.2020, 01h36

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