10 Things You Did Not Know About Afrobeat Legend, Tony Allen

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 27, 2010, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs on the Park stage on the final day of the Glastonbury festival near Pilton, Somerset. LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Recently, legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who created afrobeat along with his old bandmate Fela Kuti, died suddenly at the age of 79. Here are some interesting facts about the legend.

1. Tony Oladipo Allen was born to a middle-class Lagos family and taught himself the drums and developed his own unique style by obsessing over jazz drummer heroes from the bebop era including Art Blakey and Max Roach. In the early 1960s, he became a regular on the Lagos club circuit which was dominated by the West African highlife sound.

It was during this period he first met Fela Ransome Kuti, who was developing a highlife band called the Koola Lobitos. By 1968/69 that band had evolved into Fela’s groundbreaking Afrika 70, led by Allen on drums with Lekan Animashaun on baritone saxophone.

READ ALSO: Legendary Afrobeat Drummer Tony Allen Dies At 79

2. Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band, Africa ’70, in the 60s and 70s. During that time the pair created Afrobeat, combining West African musical styles such as highlife and fuji music with US jazz and funk. Afrobeat went on to become one of the totemic genres of 20th-century African music.

3. Allen and Kuti recorded about 40 albums as Africa ’70, before parting ways after a mythic, 26-year collaboration, with Allen citing Kuti’s disorganisation and debts to him as the reason for his departure. Such was the hole that Allen left in his band, Kuti required several drummers to replace him.

4. In 1969, touring the US for the first time with Kuti, a meeting with west coast jazz drummer Frank Butler inspired him to practise every morning on pillows, making his sticks bounce off them while he was rolling. “It adds flexibility,” he said. “Very effective. Effortless – that’s what I tried to catch from [Butler].” As part of Kuti’s band, he would sometimes drum for six hours without a break.

5. Allen taught himself to play drums at the age of 18, drawing inspiration from the US jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, as well as contemporary African music. He has attributed his versatility to the need to make a living as a jobbing musician in Lagos in the early 60s. “Latin American, African horns, jazz, highlife … you had to be able to play it all because in the club they asked for it,” he said.

6. His most recent album was ‘Rejoice’, a collaboration with Hugh Masekela. The pair met in Nigeria in the 70s, when Allen was playing with Kuti.

7. This year he planned to work on what he described as a “travel album”, playing with young musicians in Nigeria, London, Paris, and the US, “because I want to take care of youngsters – they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat,” he told the Guardian.

8. The drummer never quite reached the commercial highs or political influence of his friend, he soon became a cultural icon of modern African music particularly after the death of Fela Kuti in 1997. Allen was also a huge critics’ favorite for continuing to push musical boundaries with his unique drumming sound late into his life.

9. Despite coming to the drums relatively late, the British musician and producer Brian Eno called Allen “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”.

10. As tributes flooded in across the music industry, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a collaborator of Allen’s, sharing an image of the drummer to Instagram with a lengthy statement. He is the co-founder of Afrobeat.

‘The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us,’ Flea wrote. ‘What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove.’

He continued: ‘Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen, there is NO afrobeat.

Why I Have Not Won Numerous Awards – Brymo

A file photo of Brymo

 

 

Nigerian songwriter and singer, Olawale Ashimi (popularly known as Brymo), has attributed his failure to win numerous musical awards to his refusal to play at award shows or pay for the trophies.

“I’m their daddy though. And if you are judging all these by awards, local or foreign, I’ll have you know that I refused to play, even pay cash in some instances is why I’m not decorated…” Brymo tweeted in apparent reaction to a claim on his meagre trophy cabinet.

In a series on interactions with Twitter users, the singer also declared himself “Africa’s best,” adding that “Don’t let them tell you we are a niche, we are the whole industry, everybody’s grandma home and abroad knows who BrymO is.”

The artiste’s tweets and replies led to him trending on Nigerian Twitter on Tuesday.

The “Ara” singer has, however, garnered a few awards and recognitions since his 2007 debut album Brymstone.

He won the Recording of the Year award for the song ‘Ara’ at the Hip Hop World Awards in 2012. In the same year, he also bagged the Most Gifted Afro Pop Video of the Year at the Channel O Music Video Awards.

At the 2013/2014 All Africa Music Awards, he won the Songwriter of the Year award for the song ‘Down.’

He was nominated in the Best Recording of the Year, Best Alternative Song, and Best Performer categories at the 2019 Headies.

Tekno Gifts Twitter Fan 500k

Singer and songwriter Tekno, surprised his fans on Wednesday.

The ‘Pana’ crooner fulfilled his promise by awarding a twitter fan with the sum of 500 thousand Naira.

He had made the announcement on Wednesday that he would be giving half a million Naira to a lucky person which he would pick at random.

Augustine Miles Kelechi as he is originally known has continued to thrill his fans with various hit tracks from ‘Duro’ to ‘Pana’, ‘Wash’, and many others and even recently this philanthropic gesture.

The Bauchi born singer who started his career signed under K-Money Entertainment, later left and signed a music contract with Made Men Music Group in 2013.

He has recently signed a deal with Sony Entertainment.

How Maleek Berry Turned From Music Producer To Performing Artist

maleek-berryMaleek Soyebi, Popularly known as Maleek Berry, is a British born, Nigerian record producer, whose break into the Nigerian music circle
came in 2013 with his collaboration with Wizkid on the track ‘the matter’.

A graduate of computer sciences, Maleek’s early contact with music came from listening to classics from the likes of Michael Jackson.

Speaking of his early years in music, he told Channels Television that although he had always loved and practiced music, he took it a notch higher by creating a rap group in his local church.

This later inspired his introduction into music production.

“I started teaching myself how to produce and I was the one producing the music for the group, writing the hooks and that’s how I just fell in love with production”.

According to him, everyone in his family always knew he would go into music one day, although they insisted he must conclude his University education, before going ahead to pursue a music career.

Speaking of artists he has worked with, Maleek said he met with Davido in 2010 when the pop singer was still up and coming.

“That was the early stage of me attempting to make afro beats.”

Having worked with the likes of Wande Coal among others, Maleek’s brand has so far grown to become a household name in Nigerian music.

In 2016, he released an extended play body of work titled ‘the last days of summer’, clearly introducing himself as a performing artist.

The EP, puts together a couple of impressive singles including ‘Control and ‘Eko Maima’.

The 29 year old, however explained that when it comes to production, he still always knows how to take off his artist hat.

“When I’m a producer, I like to see myself as a servant. I take away the pride because it’s all about the artist and its all about helping the artist become a bigger star than they already are,” Maleek said.

New Music: Phyno Drops Album ‘The Play Maker’

phyno, the play makerRapper Phyno has released his sophomore album, ‘the Play Maker’.

The 20-track album includes earlier released singles such as fada-fada, E sure for me, and Pino
-Pino.

phyno, the play maker
Onyeka Onwenu

Prominent musicians Onyeka Onwenu, Tu-face Idibia, as well as P-square, all feature in the body of work.

The album was produced by Mastercraft, Major Bangs, Del-b, T-spice and Kezzy Clef.

The artist, originally named Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson, got into the music industry in 2010, first as a producer then later on in 2012, he started recording his songs.

He has since carved a niche for himself with his unique rap style, rendered in the Igbo language.

New Music, Phyno, 'The Play Maker' So far, his popular hit tracks include: ‘Ghost Mode’, ‘Man of the Year’, ‘Alobam’, ‘Parcel’ and ‘O Set’.

Asides his blooming music career, Phyno has signed major endorsement deals such as Guinness Nigeria’s ‘Made of Black’ campaign, alongside Olamide and Eva Alordiah.

After years of hard work, the ‘Ghost Mode’ crooner, appears to have tele-ported himself from underground hype to a household name in Nigeria and beyond.

Artist Megaloh Brings German-Nigerian Vibes To Lagos

megaloh, nigerian, german, lagosIt’s a full moon homecoming to remember for Rapper Uchenna Van Capelleveen, better known by his stage name Megaloh as he brings his German-Nigerian vibes to Lagos.

Uchenna, an acclaimed name already within the German hip-hop circle, presented his craft to Nigerians and received impressive response even though delivery was in a foreign language.

The artist who was bred in Germany but Born by a Nigerian, admitted that leading a multiracial life initially came with a bit of identity crisis.

megaloh, nigerian, german, lagos
(Megaloh) German-Nigerian Artist

However, at a crucial period in his life, he found rap music and that eventually helped him define his personality.

Through his music, he transformed the perceived negativity associated with him being multiracial, to his advantage.

Although hip-hop isn’t a mainstream genre in his home country Germany, according to him, he has been able to record impressive success that has gotten him mainstream attention.

While he grew as an artiste, he continued to think about his roots in Nigeria as well as monitor from a distance, the Nigerian music industry and at some point he created the track ‘oyoyo’ as an ode to Nigeria.

Seeing the incredible growth of hip-hop music in Nigeria, the artist has resolved to initiate his integration into the Nigerian music circle.

megaloh, nigerian, german, lagos, adebantu
Ade Bantu and Megaloh

As his career advanced, Megaloh found an associate, Ade Bantu, who is also a German-Nigerian entertainer, and one who he says he will help him realise his dreams.

Megaloh has taken the bold step to bring his music back to his roots and although it is impossible to pre-determine how this would pan out, he has gone ahead to start a new chapter in his life.

He said he hopes to connect more with the Nigerian language and people.

Old Wine New Skin: Terry ‘Apala’, Thrills With Old Vibes

Terry apala, Old Wine,New Skin, ‘Apala’, Old VibesIn an era where the Nigerian music takes new forms, and indigenous genres gradually succumb to the dominance of pop and hip hop, comes Terry Alexander who strives to revive the Apala music genre.

The acceptance of his music also earned him a big record deal, and with that came urban characteristics of fame, as prescribed by the fast paced industry.

His new single ‘Champagne Shower‘ rode on an explicit video, which according to him, even got the attention of his mother.

Popularly known as Terry Apala, the solo singer hails from Delta State but spent most of his growing years in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos.

It was then that he got introduced to the Apala music genre, made popular by Haruna Ishola, one of the most popular artists in the Apala genre.

Apala is a percussion-based music genre which came about in the late 1930s and even back then, it was less popular than the more predominant Fuji and Juju.

In the early 2000s, a direct descendant of Haruna Ishola, Musiliu, re-invented the sound into a funky hip-hop version, to create the track ‘Soyoyo’.

Although the track received great reviews and massive airplay, it quietly fizzled out over a period.

Now Musiliu hopes Terry Apala, will help him preserve the musical legacies of the great Haruna Ishola.

Terry’s music, however, already seems to be generating so much excitement within the Nigerian music circle as it rejuvenates a dying genre.

The up and coming artist expressed that the attention, the expectations and the pressure could be overwhelming and sometimes, gets him worried.

Copyright Infringement: Majek Fashek Insists Timi Dakolo Is Guilty

Majek Fashek, Timi DakoloNigerian reggae music icon Majek Fashek has insisted that singer Timi Dakolo committed copyright infringement for remaking his classic track ‘Send Down The Rain’.

In a video sent to Entertainment News on Channels Television, Majek who is currently in London to complete works on his comeback album accused Dakolo of not getting proper permission from him or his management before embarking on the remake.

Meanwhile, earlier in the year at an award ceremony, Majek Fashek happily performed the song alongside Timi Dakolo and guitarist Kunle Ayo.

In a statement, Dakolo maintained that he would not want to join issues with the music legend publicly but maintained that he had secured permission and actually paid a fee to Majek through his then management company, November Records.

In a separate statement, November Records confirmed Dakolo’s position saying they held the power of negotiation for Majek at the period and that Timi Dakolo completed all agreed terms before sampling the said track.

Da Emperor Drops New Video, I’m A Sinner

Da EmperorIndigenous rap act, Da Emperor, drops the video and audio for his new single – I’m A Sinner.

His previous single titled Firewood featuring Oritse Femi has been enjoying rave reviews and he said that the latest work, I’m A Sinner’ was carefully put together to ensure he does not fall below expectation.

The year 2016 promises to be a busy year, according to Da Emperor. Soon to be released is a collaboration titled ‘Shake It’. It features artistes from the United States and the UK.

Buhari Calls For Acceleration Of Economic Integration In Africa

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has called for an intensification of intra-African trade and acceleration of the pace of economic integration across Africa.

The President gave the call while speaking at a banquet in his honour at the conclusion of his state visit to Kenya.

According to a statement released by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said that the expansion of trade relations between Nigeria and Kenya in recent years should be replicated by all other African countries to speed up the pace of economic development on the continent.

Part of the statement reads; “We now have Nigerian industrialists establishing cement plants in Kenya while Nigerian telecommunications operators are learning and adopting the Kenyan mobile banking model as a tool for financial inclusion in rural Nigeria.

“We have Nigerian farmers coming to learn from successful Kenyan farms while at the same time, we have many up and coming Kenyan oil and gas businesses partnering with Nigerian oil companies.

“We have Nigerians drinking Kenyan coffee in their homes and offices, while we have many Kenyans listening to Nigerian music and watching Nollywood movies,” President Buhari said.

“These developments point to a real integration on the continent beyond formal diplomatic relationships. Greater intra-Africa trade will ultimately result in the creation of millions of jobs within Africa for Africans,” the President added.

The President also expressed hope that Nigeria and Kenya will continue to build on the mutually-beneficial trade and economic relations between them.

He called for the rapid implementation of all bilateral agreements already signed by the two countries and the convening of their Joint Commission for Cooperation.

“As our two governments move ever closer, our business communities will also take full advantage of this momentum to increase trade and economic activities,” he said.

“I feel confident that by the end of this visit, new and solid bridges for movement of persons, goods and services would have been constructed,” President Buhari added.

The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced that both leaders agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation on trade, investment and the fight against corruption and terrorism.

Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz Endorse Wizkid, ‘Ayo’

WizkidStar Boy, Wizkid is getting more international recognition as Grammy award winning singers, Alicia keys and her singer/producer husband, Swizz Beatz have endorsed the young star and his latest album, Ayo.

Alicia keys and Swizz Beatz both posted videos of themselves dancing to Wizkid’s Ojuelegba and Caro on their instagram pages, which have a combined followership that’s 4.6 million strong.

A video posted by therealswizzz (@therealswizzz) on

Davido Drops ‘Fans Mi’ Featuring Meek Mill

fans miMusic star, Davido has finally released one of the international collaborations off his yet to be released second album, ‘Fans Mi’, featuring U.S rapper, Meek Mill.

‘Fans Mi‘ was produced by Shizzi.

The video for the new song was directed by Sesan Ogunro.