Tributes flow in for the iconic Tony Allen

Last Thursday, the world lost one of its greatest drummers, Tony Allen. The pioneer of Afrobeat revolutionised drums forever.

His loss has been felt greatly by thousands, with many artists who worked with him paying their respects.

Tony Allen

Many artists have paid tribute to the pioneering drummer Tony Allen who helped create and perfect Afrobeat with Fela Kuti.

The icon performed with numerous artists, including but not limited to Fela Kuti, The Good The Bad And The Queen, and Damon Albarn. Allen was famously described by Brian Eno as, “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived.” Fellow band member and pioneer Fela Kuti also said in an interview prior to his death, “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.”

Flea posted to his Instagram to pay his respects. In the caption, he stated, “Tony Allen I love you, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to rock with you. God bless your beautiful soul.”

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis posted that he had been working with Tony Allen on some music. He expressed his gratitude towards the icon stating he was, “Funny, irreverent & wise. He emitted an energy like no other. Will be drinking & blasting yr records out tonight. Thankyou for everything.” Hopefully, we can hear this collaboration soon enough.

The Gorillaz also released a song in tribute of the legend. The new track, How Far? alongside Skepta, features Allen’s iconic drumming. Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn was a major collaborator of Allen’s.

Read some of the many tributes below:


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The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen there is NO afrobeat. I was lucky enough to spend many an hour with him, holed up in a London studio, jamming the days away. It was fucking heavenly. He was and still is, my hero. I wanted to honor his greatness so much when we played together, and I was nervous when we started, but he made me laugh like a two year old, and we fell right into pocket. I lit up like a Christmas tree every time I knew we were about to lay down some rhythm. With Tony’s longtime musical collaborator, friend and champion, Damon Albarn, we jammed til the cows came home. We partied in Nigeria, we partied around Europe, and it was always about the music. Just grooving high, grooving deep. Tony Allen I love you, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to rock with you. God bless your beautiful soul.

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