Tony Allen
Tony Allen
Tony Oladipo Allen is a Nigerian drummer, composer, and songwriter who currently lives and works in Paris. He is currently writing his autobiography "Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat" with author/musician Michael E. Veal, who has previously written a comprehensive biography of Fela Kuti. As drummer and musical director of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s band Africa 70 from 1968 to 1979, Tony Allen was one of the primary co-founders of the genre of Afrobeat music.
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Kobe chronicles: Tony Allen remembers nightmare rookie game against Bryant
LATimes - 12 months
As Kobe Bryant plays out his 20th and final season with the Lakers, The Times has reached out to players, coaches and broadcasters for recollections about his career. Tony Allen’s performance wasn’t nearly as awful as he remembers, but the veteran forward, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, says it...
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LATimes article
Songs We Love: Cerrone, '2nd Chance (feat. Tony Allen)'
NPR - about 1 year
The great Eurodisco architect unites with Afrobeat's bedrock drummer to effortlessly funk you up.
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NPR article
Recommended Dose: The Best Dance Tracks Of April
NPR - almost 2 years
The cruelest month was pretty easy on our ears, with new music from Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and Ricardo Villalobos, Detroit underground stars past and present, and funky house from the U.K. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
Songlines world music awards honor Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen - almost 2 years
LONDON (Reuters) - Nigerian artists spanning five decades of music-making took honors in Songlines magazine's 2015 awards, with Afrobeat pioneer and drummer Tony Allen winning Best Artist and Ibibio Sound Machine picked as Best Newcomers.
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Scoring Isn't Everything: The Best NBA Players With Less Than 15 PPG
Huffington Post - about 2 years
This year's All-Star Game was a blast, continuing the high-scoring trend we've seen lately in these yearly exhibitions. Russell Westbrook's great performance helped the West to a win, and a new record was set for combined points in an All-Star Game, 321 total points. It's hard to blame the players for not playing too much defense, playing too hard is how you end up with needless injuries, like Kobe Bryant's broken nose courtesy of Dwyane Wade in the 2012 All-Star Game. Fans vote in players they love to see put the ball in the basket, and it'd be silly to deny them that right. Only two players playing in this year's game have averaged less than 15 points per game this year, one being Tim Duncan of the Spurs, who scored 14.5, a reflection of how few minutes he plays rather than eroding skills. The other is Kyle Korver of the Hawks, the three-point specialist in the middle of a historic season-long hot streak. I in no way blame anyone for voting these high-scorers to the game, I believe it ...
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Huffington Post article
Grizzlies owner challenges Tony Allen
Fox News - over 3 years
Young billionaire Robert Pera is calling out one of his...
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Fox News article
Clippers Cruise To Game 1 Win
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers played above the rim, not enough to live up to their Lob City moniker but enough to beat Memphis at its own rebounding game. Chris Paul led seven players in double figures with 23 points, Eric Bledsoe had 15 and the Clippers dominated the boards in a 112-91 victory over the Grizzlies in their Western Conference playoff opener on Saturday. Chauncey Billups scored 14 points, and Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford had 13 apiece on a night when Blake Griffin was held to 10 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 3:32 left. The high-flying Clippers had just one dunk, but enjoyed a 47-23 advantage on the glass. "I just decided not to dunk that often," Paul said, jokingly. "Just shoot floaters. I don't know what Blake's problem was." Griffin bantered back, saying, "I just wanted to foul." "They're tough inside and in the end our guys made shots. We don't live for the dunk. It just happens sometimes – a lot of the time ...
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Huffington Post article
Tony Allen sang karaoke and it was amazing
USA Today - almost 4 years
The Memphis Grizzlies guard took on classics by Montell Jordan and Michael Jackson at a charity event.          
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USA Today article
'Sirius,' Steven Greer's Film, Claims To Unveil Tiny 'Alien' Humanoid (VIDEO)
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
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Huffington Post article
Global Playlist: Africa Express
Clash - over 4 years
The past decade has born witness to a silent revolution. Once upon a time, any artist outside the Trans-Atlantic drift was shunted down into the ‘world music’ section – a dark, dank, dusty corner of your local record emporium. Now, though, the most influential blogs are re-discovering African music while audio globe-trotters such as Vampire Weekend invite a generation of guitar groups to search beyond The Beatles ‘n’ The Stones. In its own small yet influential way, Africa Express has played a major part in this. A decade long series of concerts and live events, the organisation has encouraged Western and African musicians to collaborate, swapping influences and tapping each other up for new ideas. Organising a full length tour – on a train, no less – Africa Express is set to steam across the country this Autumn, a physical example of a much under-stated shift in musical influece. Invited to hop on board, rising songwriter Kyla La Grange is both excited and surprised a ...
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Clash article
At Least Facebook's Weak Stock Market Debut Stopped Short Sellers Latching On
Business Insider - over 4 years
Facebook's weak stock market debut has a potential silver lining for the social media giant - some short sellers may have been scared off. About 8.1 percent of the 421 million shares in the initial public offering were sold short as of May 31, about two weeks after its trading debut, according to a Reuters analysis of exchange data. That percentage is lower than for Pandora Media Inc, LinkedIn Corp, Angie's List Inc and Groupon Inc - half of the other Internet companies that went public in the past year. And Google Inc, with which Facebook is often compared, attracted a much higher short interest in the first couple of weeks after its IPO in 2004. Short sellers borrow stock and then sell it, betting that it will decline in value and that they can then buy it back more cheaply. Facebook had a tough first few weeks of trading. Its debut was marred by technical glitches on Nasdaq and reports that analysts at top underwriters reduced their revenue and earnings forecasts only days ...
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Business Insider article
Dr Dee
Rolling Stone - almost 5 years
On this solo joint the ever-adventuring Gorillaz and Blur frontman gets together with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Nigerian drummer Tony Allen for an operatic salute to mysterious Elizabethan alchemist John Dee An ambitious and unexpected move sure but the mix of period strings vocal choruses and West African percussion...
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Rolling Stone article
Album review: Damon Albarn's 'Dr Dee'
LATimes - almost 5 years
Damon Albarn seems about as busy as a pop star can be. In March the frontman of both Blur and Gorillaz released “Rocket Juice & the Moon,” a trippy Afro-funk disc he made with drummer Tony Allen and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; next month we’ll see the fruit of his recent collaboration with the great soul singer Bobby Womack. And this summer Blur is scheduled to play a massive concert at London’s Hyde Park to end the Olympic Games. Given that schedule, you might expect frenzy from “Dr Dee,” the first album issued under Albarn’s name since 2003. Instead, the record opens with the sound of birds and rushing water and grows only more contemplative from there. A studio companion to a so-called “English opera” that premiered last year in Manchester, “Dr Dee” explores the life and work of the Elizabethan polymath John Dee; it features Albarn on vocals along with contributions by Allen, guitarist Simon Tong (formerly of the Verve) and members of the BBC Philharmonic, among others ...
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LATimes article
In Rotation: Rocket Juice & the Moon's eponymous debut
LATimes - almost 5 years
In Rotation: "Rocket Juice & the Moon." A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers and contributors are listening to right now... Rocket Juice & the Moon, 'S/T' (Honest Jon's) You’d think that given Damon Albarn’s voluminous output, the quality would suffer, but with each of his myriad releases, be it as part of Blur, Gorillaz, the Good, the Bad & the Queen, Mali Music -- or as an opera composer -- he manages to build something solid and rhythmic. Much is due to his great choice in collaborators, and on this new project he’s snagged two masters: L.A. bassist Flea, and former Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen. On paper, that’s an amazing rhythm section, and on the trio’s new collaborative self-titled album, it creates a funky kind of magic. Though Albarn is a Brit and Flea a Californian, the record in its heart is Nigerian, built to honor the ideas born in Afrobeat, the rhythmic mish-mash of James Brown-funk and African beats created by Fela Kuti. That vibe flo ...
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LATimes article
Erykah Badu Opens Up On Recording With Jay Electronica
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Erykah Badu’s steadfast pursuit of creativity and inspiration has been an ongoing challenge for the R&B songstress throughout the course of her career. The celebrated soul singer and mother of three recently extended her benevolent aspirations with Hennessy’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign. During a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the Dallas native opened up on her second partnership with the luxury cognac brand, thoughts on a possible duet with Jay Electronica, and how she balances her career as a midwife. What attracted you to become a brand ambassador for Hennessy’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign? This is not my first time being involved in a Hennessy campaign. My first one was a couple of years ago, it was called “Hennessy Artistry: The Art Of Mixing.” It was where Hennessy had given artists [signed along with unsigned artists] a platform to express their art and music. And it was really cool. The Roots curated it and I thought that was a really good fit. Ahmir [Q ...
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Huffington Post article
The Nutshell: April 10, 2012
Stony Brook Press - almost 5 years
Willow Smith Madonna Shinedown The All-American Rejects Pop. 1280 Nicki Minaj Rocket Juice & the Moon Rascal Flatts Bear In Heaven Willow Smith Bach, move over. Satchmo, step aside. Willow Smith has arrived with some ear-wiggling tunes that you’re sure to hear at every party and club in the foreseeable future. Willow does what she likes, according to the soon-to-be-classic audio tale “21st Century Girl,” and what she likes is to rock the beat. Um, hello, we can totally get the party started, especially with the Obama name-dropping “Fireball” featuring the beautiful Nicki Minaj (my offer for sushi still stands, Nicki, hmu bb). What’s number one on Willow’s mind? Partying. She repeats that she’s the “fireball of the party” 89 times in the song “Fireball,” which is actually useful because I found myself wondering if she was actually the fireball of the party and had those questions answered, thankfully. She repeats that she is the fireball of the par ...
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Stony Brook Press article
Damon Albarn: Gorillaz, heroin and the last days of Blur
Guardian (UK) - almost 5 years
Do Blur have a future? Are Gorillaz gone for good? Is his feud with Noel Gallagher really over? The heroin issue… Damon Albarn answers some tricky questions You get a good view from the top floor of Damon Albarn's west London studio: the uneven sprawl extending out towards Kensal Green and Wormwood Scrubs. The first thing you notice, though, is the huge elevated road celebrated by Albarn's band Blur, whose single For Tomorrow crystallised the queasy alienation of London living as a matter of being "lost on the Westway". Soon enough, Albarn tells me, what we can see is set to be transformed by a 34-storey student hall of residence. He is not best pleased, and having registered a planning objection, his pain has been poured into a new song he plays me just before I go home, full of references to "men in yellow hats" and a world "where the money always comes first". This is Under The Westway, premiered by Albarn and Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon at a charity concert in February, now r ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Tony Allen
  • 2014
    Age 73
    Tony Allen also contributed drums on "People Dansa", an afrobeat rhythm fulled track off the second album of the Brazilian singer Flavia Coelho, released in 2014.
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  • 2013
    Age 72
    His career and life story have been documented in his 2013 autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat, co-written with author/musician Michael E. Veal, who previously wrote a comprehensive biography of Fela Kuti.
    More Details Hide Details As drummer and musical director of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's band Africa 70 from 1968 to 1979, Allen was one of the primary co-founders of the genre of Afrobeat music. Fela once stated that, "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat." He has also been described by Brian Eno as "perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived." A self-taught musician, Allen began to play drum-kit at the age of eighteen, while working as an engineer for a Nigerian radio station. Allen was influenced by music his father listened to (Juju, traditional Yoruba ceremonial music), but also American jazz, and the growing highlife scene in Nigeria and Ghana. Allen worked hard to develop a unique voice on the drums – feverishly studying LPs and magazine articles by Max Roach and Art Blakey, but also revolutionary Ghanaian drummer Guy Warren (now Kofi Ghanaba – who developed a highly sought sound that mixed tribal Ghanaian drumming with bop – working with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Max Roach).
  • 2012
    Age 71
    He has collaborated with Albarn and Flea in a project called Rocketjuice and The Moon with an album released in 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Albarn collaborated with him again for the single Go Back in 2014, that is part of the album Film of Life, released in October. Two Tony Allen radio shows on Red Bull Music Academy Radio (RBMA Radio) Downloadable podcast of a lecture Tony Allen delivered to Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) attendees
  • 2009
    Age 68
    His album entitled Secret Agent was released in June 2009 by World Circuit.
    More Details Hide Details Allen has influenced a range of artists across a number of genres. In the single Music Is My Radar (2000) Blur pay homage to Tony Allen, and the song ends with Damon Albarn repeating the phrase "Tony Allen got me dancing."
  • 2007
    Age 66
    He also made an appearance playing the drums in the video for "Once Upon a Time" by French duo Air in late 2007.
    More Details Hide Details He has been a featured artist on Zap Mama's albums Supermoon (2007) and ReCreation (2009), adding his voice to the tracks "1000 Ways" and "African Diamond."
    Allen plays drums on two tracks on the 2007 album 5:55 by Charlotte Gainsbourg: "5:55" and "Night-Time Intermission", backed by French duo Air and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp.
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  • 2006
    Age 65
    In 2006, Allen joined with Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, and Simon Tong as drummer for The Good, the Bad & the Queen.
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  • 2004
    Age 63
    In 2004 he recorded with Parisian artist Sébastien Tellier on the Frenchman's album Politics including the popular song "La Ritournelle".
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  • 2003
    Age 62
    Allen played drums throughout the 2003 album Love Trap by Susheela Raman and has also performed with her live.
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  • 2002
    Age 61
    In 2002, Allen appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot and Riot in tribute to Fela Kuti.
    More Details Hide Details Allen appeared alongside Res, Ray Lema, Baaba Maal, Positive Black Soul and Archie Shepp on a track entitled "No Agreement."
  • 1985
    Age 44
    Allen recorded N.E.P.A. in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details Post-Fela, Allen developed a hybrid sound, deconstructing and fusing Afrobeat with electronica, dub, R&B, and rap. Allen refers to this synthesis as afrofunk. Allen returned with a much anticipated new project for his thirteenth release. Recorded live in Lagos, with a full-sized Afrobeat band, Lagos No Shaking (Lagos is OK), signified Allen's return to roots Afrobeat after forays into avant-garde electronica hybrids. Lagos No Shaking was released on 13 June 2006.
  • 1980
    Age 39
    Allen formed his own group, recording No Discrimination in 1980, and performing in Lagos until emigrating to London in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details Later moving to Paris, Allen recorded with King Sunny Adé, Ray Lema and Manu Dibango.
  • 1979
    Age 38
    Fela did support Allen's three solo recordings: Jealousy ('75), Progress ('77), No Accommodation For Lagos ('79), but by 1979, Allen chose to leave Africa '70, taking many members with him. 'What makes me decide it's time to go?
    More Details Hide Details It's … everything and (his) he doesn't care, like he doesn't know he doesn't feel he's done anything (wrong). And with all the parasites around too. there were 71 people on tour by now and only 30 working in the got to ask why. Those guys were sapping Fela of his Force, of his Music.' So Tony moved on, once again in search of his own sound.'
  • 1970
    Age 29
    Allen recounts how Fela and he wrote in 1970: "Fela used to write out the parts for all the musicians in the band (Africa '70).
    More Details Hide Details I was the only one who originated the music I played. Fela would ask what type of rhythm I wanted to play… You can tell a good drummer because we… have four limbs… and they are… playing different things… the patterns don't just come from Yoruba… but other parts of Nigeria and Africa." Allen recorded over 30 albums with Fela and Africa '70, arguably Fela's best works. But by the late 1970s, dissension was growing in the ranks of the Africa '70. Arguments over royalties/pay, and recognition grew in intensity. As inventor of the rhythms that underpinned Afrobeat and musical director, Allen felt especially slighted. Fela stood his ground, stating, that he would get the royalties for his songs.
  • 1964
    Age 23
    In 1964, Fela Ransome Kuti invited Allen to audition for a jazz-highlife band he was forming.
    More Details Hide Details Kuti and Allen had played together as sidemen in the Lagos circuit. Fela complimented Allen's unique sound: "How come you are the only guy in Nigeria who plays like this – jazz and highlife?" Thus Allen became an original member of Kuti's "Koola Lobitos" highlife-jazz band. In 1969, following a turbulent and educational trip to the United States, Fela and the newly renamed Africa '70 band developed a new militant African sound- mixing the heavy groove and universal appeal of soul with jazz, highlife, and the polyrhythmic template of Yoruba conventions. Allen developed a novel style to complement Fela's new African groove that blended these disparate genres.
  • 1940
    Born in 1940.
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