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RIP Tony Allen

The legendary Afrobeat drummer has died, aged 79

2020 May 01     
2 Bit Thugs

He died in hospital in Paris yesterday, but his death was not coronavirus-related

Legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen has passed away in Paris. He was 79 years old.

Born Tony Oladipo Allen on 12 August 1940, Allen rose to fame as the drummer in Fela Kuti's legendary Africa 70, the band widely credited with having invented the Afrobeat genre. Inspired by Ghanaian jazz drummer Guy Warren, who had worked with bebop legends Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, he co-founded the band with Kuti in 1964, and recorded over 30 albums with them before leaving to pursue a solo career at the end of the 70s.

In the 80s and 90s Allen recorded several solo albums, as well as working with other acclaimed African musicians such as Manu Dibango and King Sunny Ade. But the 21st Century saw his career take a fresh turn as he worked on projects with electronic producers including Jeff Mills, Sebastian Tellier, Air and Moritz Van Oswald, as well as rock musicians such as Damon Albarn, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Paul Simonon of The Clash. 

In a statement this morning announcing the news of his death, his manager Eric Trosset said: "It was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1pm, then two hours later he was sick and taken to hospital, where he died."

The exact cause of his death has not been made public, but Trosset did say that it wasn't related to the coronavirus pandemic.





Tags: Tony Allen, Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, Africa 70, Manu Dibango, King Sunny Ade, Jeff Mills, Sebastian Tellier, Air, Moritz Van Oswald, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simonon, The Clash