Tony Allen, legendary Afrobeat drummer, has died aged 79

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Tony Allen

Tony Allen, the man some hailed as the best drummer in the world has died in Paris, aged 79, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody has the sad news.

Tony Allen, the legendary Afrobeat drummer, has died.

A statement released by his PR this morning said: “It is with great sadness that we share that the legendary Tony Allen passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 79.”

Tony Allen was famous, not for having two arms and two legs.

That applies to most of us.

But he was the only man in the world who could sit in front of a drum kit make and each of those four limbs bang out a different rhythm. At the same time.

To see him at work at an African Soul Rebels Tour at Liverpool Phil about 10 years ago was a spectacle that will not easily be forgotten.

It was poetry. It was skill. It was motion, obviously. He was, after all, a drummer. But he had no peers.

Long standing rhythm man for Fela Kuti and collaborator with, well, just about everyone, including, recently reviewed Fatoumata Diawara, he was that rare thing.

A quiet exponent who never shouted about his utter brilliance. But brilliant he was.

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It is with great sadness, we learn of his death in Paris on April 30.

Fela Kuti once said: “Without Tony Allen, there would have been no Afrobeat“. A bold claim, but not far off the mark.

He most recently collaborated with Hugh Masekela to create the album Rejoice, released earlier this year.

Getintothis send good wishes and condolences to Tony’s family and friends.

We have lost another great.

RIP

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