Tony Allen is a songwriter and percussionist from Nigeria who was one of the principal architects of the Afrobeat sound (along with other integral players such as saxophonist, trumpet player and singer Fela Kuti and lesser known acts like Orlando Julis). Allen was born in Lagos as Tony Oladipo Allen in 1940 of mixed Nigerian and Ghanaian parentage. In Allen's youth he worked as an engineer at a radio station in Nigeria. There and at home he was exposed to the highlife, Jùjú and Yoruba sounds of West Africa. The eighteen-year-old Allen began to teach himself the drums while working this job. Less than a year later he was playing professionally.
Allen soon began playing in combos around Lagos, mostly performing highlife. He got a job playing... Read More