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Photo: Hugo Glendinning & Gavin Rodgers.

Listen to Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela's New Song 'Slow Bones'

Premiere: The Nigerian and South African legend come together in this new single from their upcoming album Rejoice, the first post-humous release from Masekela.

Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen and South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela began recording together in 2010.

Though they'd known each other since the 1970s, through their friendship & work with Fela, it took forty years—and a coinciding tour schedule that saw them both in the UK at the same time—for Allen and Masekela to make it to a London studio together.

It was there that, along with producer Nick Gold, they recorded the "kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew" that will make up their upcoming album, Rejoice, as Allen describes it.

Those recording sessions remained largely untouched until after Masekela's passing in 2018, which drove Allen and Gold to revisit the tapes of those original compositions with the aim of finishing their now ten-year-old project.

Today we're premiering the latest single from the album, "Slow Bones," a head-nodding blend of Allen's afrobeat percussion and Masekela's trumpet melodies. "I don't know why this track is called 'Slow Bones.' Hugh came up with all the song titles while we were recording in 2010, and we've left them exactly as he wrote them down," Tony Allen tells OkayAfrica.


"The track was recorded in the same way as the rest of the album. First I would lay down a drum beat. Then the bass was added, and then Hugh created a melody over the top. It's amazing to think that it was 10 years ago. But everything eventually appears at the right time, for a reason."

Allen and Masekela will be accompanied on Rejoice by a new generation jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland/The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.

Listen to our premiere of "Slow Bones" below. Rejoice is due March 20 via World Circuit Records.

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