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Mook 01-03-2008 10:49 PM

Tony Allen
Anyone heard of this guy, a revolutionary Nigerian Drummer who worked with Fela Kuti? Got a CD of his recently 'Afro Disco Beat' & it's changed some of the ways I think about beats, it seems he was a huge influence on Ginger Baker too. Can only find one clip of him on YouTube - this guy really should get more recognition, I'm sure he must've influenced thousands of western Drummers, be it first or second hand...

criz p. critter 01-10-2008 07:32 AM

Oh YEAH! I was thinking about starting a thread for Tony Allen... I was amazed that no one had done it yet. Just hadn't gotten around to doing it. So thanks, Mook, for getting it started.

Every drummer on this forum should definitely check out some of Tony's work with Fela Kuti, or his solo stuff. iTunes store has 6 or 7 of his records, as well as most of Fela Kuti's. The guy was a total original, the virtual creator of Afro Beat drumming. His beats are driving, highly syncopated, and spot on in the groove. Not only was he a great drummer, he was also the music director for Fela's various bands over the years.

Fela and Tony were one of the big influences that were going around all over the world in the late 60's and '70. I love that period. I think that was such a great and fertile time for music. Miles Davis, James Brown, Sly Stone, Fela Kuti––as well as lots of others––they were all listening to and influencing each other's work, percolating and cross-pollinating funk, jazz & rock.

Anyone else out there a fan of Tony's? Well, speak up! Anyone reading this that hasn't heard him yet? Well, check him out. You'll be amazed.

One more thing... you're right, Mook. Tony Allen was an influence on Ginger Baker. In fact, there is a record by Fela Kuti that features Ginger playing alongside Tony. It's called "Fela Kuti featuring Ginger Baker & Afrika 70" (wow, what a creative title!). They play really well together. The only part where I lose interest in this record is where Ginger takes a solo. Not that he's not a great soloist--I'm a big fan of Ginger and his soloing... It's just that throughout the rest of the record they groove together so well, that it's a letdown for me when they stop.

BringoDingo 01-10-2008 12:30 PM

Re: Tony Allen
I have all of Fela's albums, and have loved Tony's beats for years. he's the drummer for the Good, the Bad, the Queen now. Great player.

handito 01-10-2008 03:05 PM

Re: Tony Allen
I've tried to start a couple of Tony Allen threads, but they all just died out without any replies. I am glad, however, that you have seen the light:D

Hark Noah 01-15-2008 09:10 AM

Re: Tony Allen
He's the guy from The Good, The Bad and The Queen album isn't he? Best album of 2007 for me. He has a strange style, hardly moves when he's playing. Great beats though.

AveyTare 07-16-2009 01:34 PM

Re: Tony Allen
are there any videos of him playing? i'm absolutely blown away by his drumming in Sebastien Tellier's "La Ritournelle".

Mook 07-17-2009 07:02 PM

Re: Tony Allen

Originally Posted by AveyTare (Post 594572)
are there any videos of him playing? i'm absolutely blown away by his drumming in Sebastien Tellier's "La Ritournelle".

Here's one...


Freddie Freeloader 07-20-2009 05:22 AM

Re: Tony Allen

Pollyanna 09-04-2010 03:14 PM

Re: Tony Allen
This was in my YouTube suggested videos tonight:


Such tasty drumming. Africa's answer to Steve Gadd.

Goymatron 10-16-2010 11:49 AM

Tony Allen
Im wondering why there is no profile on the great Tony Allen? This is a guy who along with the late great Fela Kuti developed a genre know as Afrobeat. The guy has a story and style which should be documented on this site.

Pollyanna 10-16-2010 02:55 PM

Re: Tony Allen
I'm guessing because he's African so his profile isn't as high in the US and Europe, which is where almost all the well-known drummers on DW are from. There's another thread in this section about him: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=34288

Agree that he is worthy of recognition ... he's one of the tastier drummers I've heard.

wy yung 10-16-2010 03:12 PM

Re: Tony Allen
Getting a story in Modern Drummer obviously isn't enough. But it needs to be understood this is a private site with few staff.

There are so many drummers I know of who are not featured. It's an incredibly basic list. Only to be expected.

Goymatron 10-17-2010 02:04 AM

Re: Tony Allen
Thanks for your replies, great to see there are some people on here who can recognize! Appreciate the link pollyanna. I hadn't searched the forum for any threads on the man.

Heres another link, its a 150 min video interview with Tony telling his story, towards the end he does some playing and explains the development of Afrobeat. You can also podcast it and listen to it while traveling! Recommended viewing, its a must see.


Check out the rest of the archive, there's interviews with Bernard Purdie, ?uestlove, Sly and Robbie, Mulatu Astatke and heaps more! Enjoy

okiemuse 04-07-2013 02:23 AM

Ethnocentric. That's how I may introduce every post about Tony Allen being inexcusably omitted from the "official" list of important drummers. Consider this: Jazz, Rock, Blues. Three incredibly popular music forms that are musical cousins. What is their ancestry? The convergence of European and African musical ideas mostly in the United States (via slavery). Major contributions from England, etc. What were those ideas? Europeans generally focused on melody and chords, with any words originating from a designated source as the audience remained mostly silent. Also an unwritten rule that most of the really good stuff originated with or belonged to society's more prestigious/affluent persons. Africans (African-Americans in this instance) generally focused on rhythmic emphasis and invention, with the invention half of that quickly becoming something applied to melody and chords in addition to rhythm (ragtime & jazz). Lyrical expression with roots in both call-and-response and in the need of abused, low-status people to express themselves (think Blues), which contributed to the idea that you could sing your story without being officially sanctioned as a proper "pretty" voice. Hello Rock 'n' Roll and it's formative front persons: Mick Jagger, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, et al. In a place like Drummerworld, full of talented, thoughtful, intelligent people, I should not have to go on any more about this, so I'll end this post. But, considering at least one shocking omission from the official list, maybe I need to end the post the way it began (regarding who does/doesn't merit respect). Ethnocentric.

This site's official list of drummers who merit special attention is a goldmine for those new to percussion. Sadly, it also reflects some ethnocentrism. The club recognizes artists from the U.S., Europe and occasionally the Caribbean. But it appears -- according to The List -- there is no significant talent in Africa. Not even Allen, one of the most important drummers in the world.

Arky 04-07-2013 12:00 PM

Re: Tony Allen
We had 2 threads on Tony Allen. I merged them. That's why the material being discussed might not perfectly line up all the time when reading through the entire thread.

Drumsticks 02-25-2014 09:06 PM

Re: Tony Allen
Allen is the most musical player I've ever heard; an absolute dream for any musician to collaborate with. His taste and timing are impeccable. He created his own style of drumming and plays loosely, confidently, quietly, humbly and precisely.

For these reasons, he's the best drummer in the world.

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