Legendary drummer and afrobeat co-founder Tony Allen dies
Legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who created afrobeat along with his old bandmate Fela Kuti, died suddenly at the age of 79 in Paris on Thursday, his manager told AFP.
“We don’t know the exact cause of death,” manager Eric Trosset said, adding it was not linked to the coronavirus.
“He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital where he died.”
Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band Africa ’70 in the 1960s and 1970s.
During that time the pair created afrobeat, combining West African musical styles such as highlife and fuji music with American imports jazz and funk. Afrobeat went on to become one of the totemic genres of 20th century African music.
Over Allen’s thrilling beat, Fela laid out his revolutionary and pan-African message, which led him to become one of the abiding icons of the struggle for freedom across the continent.
Allen and Fela recorded around 40 albums together in Africa ’70, before parting ways after a mythic 26-year collaboration.
IMAGES: LEON NEAL