tony allen

Tony Allen is the co-creator of Afrobeat, and one of the most distinctive and in-demand kit drummers on the planet. No one swings like this Nigerian rhythm man - with that amazing, loose-limbed, poly-rhythmic technique that has powered some of the funkiest and most challenging dance music ever created.

Tony Allen grew up surrounded by rhythm: the local palm-wine and juju sounds loved by his motor mechanic father, and the pan-African, big-band highlife then sweeping the clubs of Africa ' exemplified by the great Ghanaian bandleader E. T. Mensah. The young Tony developed an obsession with drums. But opportunities to get near a kit were few and far between in 1950s Lagos. He made his professional debut at the age of 18, while working as a radio technician, playing claves with Sir Victor Olaiya and his Cool Cats. When the regular drummer left, Tony was handed the sticks. He went on honing his technique with Negu Morris And The Heatwaves, the Nigerian Messengers and the Western Toppers Highlife Band. His role models were Art Blakey and the Ghanaian drummer Koffi Ghanaba, aka Guy Warren.

Then, in 1964, Allen was invited to audition for a band called Koola Lobitos, led by a young Nigerian ' just returned from music studies in London ' named Fela Kuti. Fela's influence on the young drummer was incalculable. But then so was Tony's on Fela. Here was exactly the musician Fela had been looking for: capable of fusing jazz and highlife sensibilities and sounding, as Kuti put it, 'like five drummers at once'. If Fela was Afrobeat's mind and mouth, Tony Allen was its arms and legs, his webs of cascading off-beats endlessly powering the music forward.

Allen split with Fela in 1978 and relocated to Paris in 1980, involving himself in an amazing diversity of solo and collaborative projects over the succeeding decades. 'Secret Agent' is his debut album for World Circuit, and his first release since he became a co-founder with Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon of 'The Good, The Bad and The Queen'. Self-produced, this slice of hardcore funky Afrobeat was recorded in Lagos, Paris and London. Using his regular hard-drilled touring band with full horn section the vocals are handled by Tony himself alongside his specially selected group of singers from his native Lagos, Nigeria. As Afrobeat continues to expand its horizons, Tony Allen, holder of the Afrobeat flame, unleashes the latest from the Underground Sensation.

"Without Tony Allen, there'd be no Afrobeat."
Fela 'Anikulapo' Kuti

"Tony Allen really got me dancin'"
Blur (from the single 'Music is my Radar')

"Perhaps the greatest drummer ever"
Brian Eno

Stand Out tracks include;
'Home Cooking', 'One Tree', 'Losun', 'Crazy Afrobeat', 'Secret Agent'.
Blue Mounatin Music administer music publishing rights for Tony Allen worldwide for the following albums;
'Home Cooking', Lagos No Shaking', 'Lagos Shake - A Tony Allen Chop Up', 'Secret Agent'.