Tony Allen, Fela’s drummer, passes on with his beats
...as music stakeholders pay respect to the afrobeat co-founder
Last December, Allen was in Nigeria for three weeks, and hosted live performances for his forthcoming 80th birthday anniversary in July 2020.
Speaking on the demise of Allen, Benson Idonije, ace broadcaster, music critic and first band manager of Fela Kuti, noted that Allen was the leading Afrobeat drummer with unmatched dexterity, and that with his death, that phenomenon has disappeared.
“Tony Allen was the pioneering rhythm maker for Afroabeats as the ace drummer of Fela’s band. While Fela Kuti was known as the reference point in Afroabeats, Allen created the rhythm and rhythm plays a very important part in Afroabeats”, Idonije said.
According to the former band manager of Fela Kuti, all the people Allen had influenced with his drumming skills will miss him, while the music world would miss he contributions to quality rhythm and music.
In his tribute to the late legend, Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli, legendary Nigerian musician, former president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and old associate of Allen, said, “Tony Allen was a great human being, a good musician, very helpful and wonderful friend. We will miss a five-star drummer who was out there in the world making Nigeria proud. He was professional and not like the jokers we have today”.
Tee Mac recalled his last encounter with Allen on December 26, 2019 when he performed alongside Allen in his pre-birthday party show in Lagos.
“He was in Nigeria last year for three weeks to celebrate his forthcoming 80th birthday, I performed with him as a friend and that was the last time I saw him. It was a reunion and great fun for both of us”, Tee Mac said.
Tee Mac further described Allen, who had been his friend since 1970, and also worked for his band for a year when he left Fela in 1983, as “a five-class human being, and a great musician”.