Artist of the Day: Tony Allen

posted by Matt Jarrells on 10/24/2017

October 24, 2017

On September 8th, legendary afro-beat drummer Tony Allen released The Source, his most recent studio album.  Born in Nigeria, Allen gained prominance through his work as a drummer and musical director for Fela Kuti's band Africa 70.  Allen began playing the drums when he was eighteen and working at a Nigerian radio station. In 1964, he met Fela Kuti and began a creative partnership which would define Afro-Beat. This new genre fused jazz, soul and musical sounds from the Yoruba culture to craft an influential sound that would have a massive impact on world music.  As a member of Africa 70, Allen played on over thirty albums between 1969 and 1979. During this time he also found time to record three solo albums.

Following internal strife and disputes over royalties, Allen left Africa 70 and went off on his own, taking many band members with him. With his own band, Allen was able to hone and expand afro-beat music.  Through mixing his work with elements of electronica, R&B, and hip-hop, Allen created a genre a termed afro-funk. Along with his work in afrobeat and afrofunk, Allen would lend his drumming skills to other genres and bands. He's also a member of the supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen along with Damon Albarn of Blur and Paul Simonon of the Clash. 

Allen currently resides in Paris.

Artist's Website



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