Tony Allen has been buried after his death aged 79. He was co-creater of Afrobeat with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a music genre that has now become one of the most influential in popular music around the world.
As a world renown drummer, he is famously regarded as “four-in-one” drummer because after parting ways with Fela Kuti’s band in 1979, he was subsequently replaced by four drummers who struggled to fill he boots.
Allen had stints with Victor Olaiya and the Cool Cats band before teaming up with Fela Kuti who had tried so hard to get a drummer that could really play jazz.
Afrobeat is a product of Fela’s jazz background and Allen’s highlife experience. With Allen’s ingenuity with the drums, Fela created the new sound.
Even though Allen was self-taught and a naturally gifted drummer, he perfected his craft by studying the works of other music greats such as Art Blake, Max Roach and Kenny Clarke.
From 1964 to 1979, Allen was involved in producing classics such as Alagbon Close’, ‘Everything Scatter’, ‘Expensive Shit’, ‘Yellow Fever’, ‘Zombie’, ‘Kalakuta Show’, ‘Sorrow Tears And Blood’ etc.
Allen began creating his own sound and developed his own hybrid sound, Afrofunk. He released Lagos No Shaking in 2006; His album entitled Secret Agent was released in June 2009 by World Circuit.
His final studio collaboration with Kuti was on an album made with American vibraphonist Roy Ayers, ‘Africa Centre Of The World’ (1981).
After relocating to Paris, Allen recorded with King Sunny Adé, Ray Lema and Manu Dibango. He also recorded N.E.P.A. in 1985.
In a tribute message, the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) acknowledged the contribution of Allen to music across several generations of artists, describing him as ‘one of the greats of Nigerian and African music.’