Tony Allen was the poly-rhythmic engine house of Fela Kuti’s band from 1968 up until 1979 and one of the key founders of afro-beat. Today he turned a mighty 74.
“Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat”, said Fela Kuti once. These days Allen is gearing up for the release of his new solo album Water of Life in October which features collaborations with Damon Albarn and bassist Flea. The documentary Music Is The Weapon, about Fela Kuti is well worth streaming if you’re wondering the significance of afro-beat and its radicalism in Nigeria.
You can watch Tony Allen performing live in Luxembourg in 2011 above.