In the late sixties, Tony Allen cofounded afrobeat, playing alongside Fela Kuti in the regular lineup of Fela’s legendary band, Africa 70. Allen combined funk, jazz, highlife, and Nigerian percussion to revolutionize drumming.
In 2006, with Damon Albarn of Blur, he founded the band The Good, the Bad & the Queen, which was celebrated for its psychedlic pop, and later Rocket Juice & the Moon, the supergroup including Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Erykah Badu. The 74-year-old Allen is one of the world’s greatest drummers today. At HKW, he will present his tenth solo album, “Film of Life.”
In 2002, Allen appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation album Red Hot and Riot in tribute to Fela Kuti. Allen appeared alongside Res, Ray Lema, Baaba Maal, Positive Black Soul and Archie Shepp on a track entitled “No Agreement.” Allen played drums throughout the 2003 album Love Trap by Susheela Raman and has also performed with her live.
In 2004 he recorded with Parisian artist Sébastien Tellier on the Frenchman’s album Politics including the popular song “La Ritournelle”. In 2006, Allen joined with Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, and Simon Tong as drummer for The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Allen plays drums on two tracks on the 2007 album 5:55 by Charlotte Gainsbourg: “5:55” and “Night-Time Intermission”, backed by French duo Air and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp.
He also made an appearance playing the drums in the video for “Once Upon a Time” by French duo Air in late 2007. He has been a featured artist on Zap Mama’s albums Supermoon (2007) and ReCreation (2009), adding his voice to the tracks “1000 Ways” and “African Diamond.” His album entitled Secret Agent was released in June 2009 by World Circuit. Allen has influenced a range of artists across a number of genres. In the single Music Is My Radar (2000) Blur pay homage to Tony Allen, and the song ends with Damon Albarn repeating the phrase “Tony Allen got me dancing.
Tony Allen LIVE
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