News, reviews and commentary on afrobeat and related music from Africa, The Caribbean and The Americas

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tony Allen: I Will Never Bore You

By Robert Fox

The Dutch music website KindaMuzik has an interesting interview with Afrobeat architect Tony Allen, the drummer and music director for Fela Kuti's legendary Africa 70 band, inventors of Afrobeat. The interview coincided with the release of Tony Allen's powerful solo album Homecooking in 2002.

In the interview, Allen discusses the impact that American jazz drummers like Max Roach and Art Blakey had on his playing. He also expresses his interest in pushing Afrobeat into the future and taking the music in new paths. Here's a brief excerpt:
"The music has to stay, it is my mission to make afrobeat stay forever. So I'm always trying to take the music in new directions. Which is why I make music with new artists. Like the Allenko Brotherhood project. I made different rhythms and gave them to DJs, producers, hiphop artists, you know? So they could build the tracks around my rhythms. I don't want to repeat what we've done with Fela Kuti & Africa 70 in the seventies, and what I've done with Egypt 80 in the eighties. When people talk about afrobeat, they want to hear the old stuff. Why? Why do more of the same stuff? If you really want the music to stick around, you have to change it. You have to move with time, because if you don't, time will pass you. The core is the rhythm, my rhythm. That will not change. The rhythm is afrobeat. But that doesn't mean you can't make it sound fresh. So no repeating. As long as I'm alive, I will never bore you. "
In recent months, Tony Allen has also released a new live CD, Lagos No Shaking, that is getting excellent reviews. You'll definitely want to check it out.

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