Celebrating Tony Allen’s 70th Birthday and 50 years of Nigeria’s independence, this concert features guest collaborators who he has worked with over the years.
Special guests just announced - Seun Kuti, Cheikh Lo,Thandiswa, Pee Wee Ellis, Jimi Tenor, Jason Yarde, Byron Wallen, Keziah Jones, Wunmi & more
Also commemorating Nigeria's 50 years of independence - the renowned Nigerian entertainment company Tijani Entertainment will be hosting Nigeria@50 in association with Lebara Mobile with support of the Mayor's office. Visit tijanient.com for further information.
Tony Allen - Secret Agent
In this raucous celebratory concert, Allen brings to the Barbican a dazzling array of international talent. Seun Kuti – son of Fela – is widely seen as the true inheritor of the Afrobeat crown and electrified the audience at his last Barbican show; Pee Wee Ellis , James Brown’s saxophonist for many years, embodies the music that so influenced the Afrobeat generation; Thandiswa is a soulful South African singer and a legend of the country’s Kwaito music scene; Finland’s Jimi Tenor is a true musical original, steeped in a love for Afro-American music; and Jason Yarde and Byron Wallen are two of the UK’s most exciting and versatile jazz musicians.
Born in August 1940, and a self-taught musician, he began to play at the age of eighteen, a fan of American jazz but also fascinated by traditional music and with the percussion work of Ghanaian Guy Warren, who mixed traditional rhythms with the new sounds of American bebop. Invited to audition for a jazz-highlife band by Fela Kuti in 1964, he became an original member of Kuti’s Koola Lobitos highlife-jazz band and started a decades-long musical relationship. This special evening marks Tony Allen’s 70th birthday and features several special guests collaborators who Allen has worked with over the years.
This year also marks Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of Independence and Allen has been at the centre was at the centre of Afrobeat, which is Nigeria’s most influential musical export – which combined the heavy groove and universal appeal of soul with jazz, highlife, and the polyrhythms of Yoruba music. Allen’s fusion of drum styles perfectly complemented Fela’s new African groove and he recorded over 30 albums with Fela and Africa ’70 – widely regarded as Fela’s best works. He has also worked with Manu Dibango, King Sunny Ade and Ray Lema. While often returning to the Afrobeat template that made his name, in the years since Allen has also worked with a broad range of rock acts, such as Jimi Tenor, Sebastien Tellier, Charlotte Gainsbourg and, to general acclaim, with Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon as the group The Good, The Bad and the Queen. 'There is no question that Tony Allen is a genius, one of the greatest percussionists in the history of popular music.' The Guardian
Tony Allen - Jealousy
Seun Kuti & Egypt80 in Dakar
Thandiswa - Ingoma
Pee Wee Ellis Band
Jimi Tenor/Tony Allen - Inspiration Information Interview