- AFROBEAT -
Tony Oladipo Allen is a Nigerian drummer, composer and songwriter who currently lives and works in Paris.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, Allen taught himself to drum. His only formal education was through his father’s record collection, which largely consisted of traditional Yoruba, a form of percussive folk music highly popular throughout West Africa. While working as an engineer for a local radio station, Allen was also exposed to American jazz and a burgeoning Ghanaian highlife scene, distinguished by upbeat, Western-inflected, but distinctly African pop music.
Renaming his unit Fela and Africa ’70, Kuti adapted a new musical approach that took direct aim at Nigeria’s military dictatorship. With Allen at the kit, Africa ’70 created a highly charged, politically provocative musical hybrid called Afrobeat. Afrobeat turned highlife loose with long instrumental grooves, politically provocative themes, soulful exhortations, and—courtesy of Tony Allen—furiously-paced polyrhythmic beats. Africa ’70 gave way to an explosion of creativity, spawning a legion of like-minded young musicians and proliferating its sound throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
Clancy's comment: Another champion musician.