A renowned drummer, Tony Allen, is dead.
Allen is a co-founder of afrobeat alongside late Fela Kuti.
He is also a former musical director of Fela Kuti’s famous band, Africa ’70.
The renowned drummer died in Paris on Thursday at age 79, his manager, Erick Trosset, said.
AFP reports that Mr Trosset said the cause of his death was unknown but not related to coronavirus complications.
“We don’t know the exact cause of death,” Mr Trosset said.
“He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital where he died.”
Allen collaborated with a number of artists during his long music career, and was the drummer in The Good, the Bad & the Queen, with Damon Albarn, Paul Simenon and Simon Tong.
Tributes pour in
World stars are paying tributes to the late drummer for his contributions to the musical world.
A UK musician, Brian Eno, described him as “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived.”
Grammy-winning Beninois singer, Angelique Kidjo, shared on her Instagram page how she had been hit hard by Allen’s death
She said the late musician “changed the history of African music.”
Australian-American musician, Michael Balzary, popularly known as Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers,
called him his ‘hero’ on his Instagram page.
Flea, who once worked with the late icon, described him as “one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this.”
View this post on Instagram
The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen there is NO afrobeat. I was lucky enough to spend many an hour with him, holed up in a London studio, jamming the days away. It was fucking heavenly. He was and still is, my hero. I wanted to honor his greatness so much when we played together, and I was nervous when we started, but he made me laugh like a two year old, and we fell right into pocket. I lit up like a Christmas tree every time I knew we were about to lay down some rhythm. With Tony’s longtime musical collaborator, friend and champion, Damon Albarn, we jammed til the cows came home. We partied in Nigeria, we partied around Europe, and it was always about the music. Just grooving high, grooving deep. Tony Allen I love you, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to rock with you. God bless your beautiful soul.
“What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove,” Flea said on Instagram.
Also, musician Seun Kuti, tweeted “rest in power and journey well.”
About Tony Allen
In 2013, Allen released an autobiography named “Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat” which details his career and life story.
According to the autobiography, he was born in Lagos in 1940 and by 18, he had taught himself how to play drums by listening to American jazz drummers, Art Blakey and Max Roach.
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Drawing inspiration from them, he learnt his technique by creating the distinctive polyphonic rhythms of afrobeat in which he was said to be able to play four different beats with each of his limbs.
His first meeting with Fela was in 1964 and they quickly forged a friendship. They would go on to record dozens of albums in Africa ’70, including Gentleman and Zombie.
Amid reported rifts with the band leader over royalties, he left the band in 1979.
After leaving the band, Fela was said to have hired four separate drummers to fill the void.
Allen emigrated to London in 1984, and later moved to Paris.