Legendary drummer and afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen has sadly died, aged 79.
Allen’s manager said that he died suddenly in Paris on Thursday and that the exact cause of death was not known, but confirmed that it was not coronavirus-related.
Largely renowned as one of the world’s greatest drummers, the Nigerian artist is credited along with former bandmate Fela Kuti for the creation of afrobeat, and his most recent album was released in March this year with trumpet player Hugh Masekela: ‘Rejoice’.
Allen was the drummer and musical director of Kuti’s band Africa ’70 in the 1960s and ’70s, and went on to collaborate with Jeff Mills and many others, also drumming for The Good, the Bad & the Queen with Damon Albarn.
Read a selection of the tributes left to Allen on social media below.
going to start the day with a tribute to the master Tony Allen who passed away yesterday in Paris. I spent many good times with him… he loved the DJ culture and was always keen to explore all musical avenues. Massive loss . Tune in at 9AM on @worldwidefm
— Gilles Peterson (@gillespeterson) May 1, 2020
R.I.P Tony Allen.
This man pioneered Afrobeat with Fela Kuti. His drumming was the backbone of the sound. Blessed to have played a show with him in Köln a couple year ago. A true genius. He will be missed. 🙏🏿🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/x6WmYUJKk2
— Blitz Bazawule (@BlitzAmbassador) May 1, 2020
Incredibly sad to hear the news about #TonyAllen. I was fortunate enough to interview him several times – it was always a fantastic experience. Such an inordinately gifted musician who wore his talent with such élan. This is a piece we made in 2009 https://t.co/obmZM9zbnU
— Lauren Laverne (@laurenlaverne) May 1, 2020
RIP TONY ALLEN. THE GOAT AMONGST GOATS. DO YOUR RESEARCH. LEGENDS NEVER DIE. THE INVENTOR OF RHYTHM #Afrobeat
— MAJOR LAZER (@MAJORLAZER) April 30, 2020