Legendary Afro beat drummer, Tony Allen will be honored at a tribute concert organized in his honour by Inspiro Productions, Zome International and Metroventures on Sunday, Dec. 29, at Reserve Lounge, Restaurant & Bar, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Giving reasons why the ex-Fela drummer is being honoured, Ayoola Sadare, founder, Lagos International Jazz Festival (LIJF) said: “Tony Allen is our very own living legend worthy of celebration and once the opportunity came for us to do so, we had to. His impact on Afro beat, jazz and world music is undeniable. As he turns 80 next year, we want to be one of the first to wish him a happy birthday in advance with this event. Tony Allen is a worthy cultural ambassador of Nigerian/African music and we are extremely proud of him and honored to be able to celebrate him too.”
Tony Oladipo Allen was born in 1940 in Lagos, Nigeria. His life story was documented in his 2013 autobiography, Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afro beat, which was co-written with Michael E. Veal.
In 1964, Fela Kuti invited Tony Allen to audition for a jazz-highlife band he was forming after which he became an original member of Fela’s Koola Lobitos highlife-jazz band. In 1969, Fela and the newly renamed Africa ‘70 band developed a new militant African sound, mixing the heavy groove and universal appeal of soul with jazz, highlife, and the polyrhythmic template of Yoruba conventions. Allen developed a novel style which complemented Fela’s new African groove thus blending these disparate genres.
With Fela and Africa ‘70, Tony Allen recorded more than 30 albums and by 1979, Allen chose to leave Africa ‘70 in search of his own sound. Allen formed his own group, recording No Discrimination in 1980 and performing in Lagos before emigrating to London in 1984 after which he moved to Paris.