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Tony Allen is best known as the drummer for Nigerian iconoclast Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s band. Together they created the powerful revolutionary music- Afro-Beat that sprang out of southern Nigeria in the late 60’s.

It’s been a long journey from Tony’s early beginnings in Yorouba land, Nigeria, where he soaked in ebo rhythms, to the European and North American studios, clubs and concert halls. Still, Allen is committed to keeping the Afrobeat fires burning, working with his band, Afrobeat 2000 as well as collaborating with a talented new generation of musicians to renew Afrobeat and bring it into the new millennium.

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“Without Tony Allen, there’d be no Afrobeat.”

Fela “Anikulapo” Kuti

“Tony Allen really got me dancin’ ”

Blur

“Perhaps the greatest drummer ever”

Brian Eno

Tony Allen is best known as the drummer for Nigerian iconoclast Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s band. Together they created the powerful revolutionary music- Afro-Beat that sprang out of southern Nigeria in the late 60’s. Allen’s work with Fela and the other band members took its’ influences from West African High-life and American freejazz, fusing them with funk and traditional African harmonies and rhythm to create an motionally charged music that both reflected and transcended the fiery, confrontational times from whence it came. Moving to Europe in the mid 80’s, Allen started thinking about taking the music he had helped pioneer in a different direction. “Ever since I came to Europe, I’ve wanted to fuse my music with modern music. I did not want to leave it raw like Fela”. Applying the principal with the practical became the next objective. Being a musical alchemist, Allen set out new directions by rejuvenating the traditional beat with more contemporary cutting edge sounds. Allen goes on to say. ”I’m a different person. I want to take a different direction with the same beat. I want to fuse it with funk, with rock, with anything. Hip hop is dance, Afrobeat is dance, I’m fusing the Electronic into Afrobeat.”

His latest effort “Psyco on da Bus” is a collaboration with French based hiphop producer/sample scientist Doctor L. Together they are working to redefine Afrobeat for a new generation, incorporating sounds that move between hiphop, drum n’ bass, funk, dub and psychedelic rock. “Younger people are coming into (Afrobeat) right now. And I personally don’t want to be past, I want to be future. Young people like hiphop, and techno, which is what I must think about. It’s the direction I want to take. It’s an experiment I’ve wanted to try. That’s why I wanted Doctor L to produce the album.”

It’s been a long journey from Tony’s early beginnings in Yorouba land, Nigeria, where he soaked in ebo rhythms, to the European and North American studios, clubs and concert halls. Still, Allen is committed to keeping the Afrobeat fires burning, working with his band, Afrobeat 2000 as well as collaborating with a talented new generation of musicians to renew Afrobeat and bring it into the new millennium.

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