Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (1940 - 2020) performs live on stage at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 11th March 1988. (photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

Afrobeat & Beyond: 16 Songs That Showcase Tony Allen's Masterful Range

From collaborations with Damon Albarn and Flea to his joint album with Hugh Masekela, here are 16 career-spanning songs that highlight the afrobeat pioneer's genre-eclipsing influence.

Tony Allen was a drumming giant. As Brian Eno once put it he was "perhaps, the greatest drummer who ever lived." He was also one of the most important. Along with Fela Kuti, he helped birth Afrobeat—the most influential African musical genre of our time.

The trailblazing musician, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 79, also experimented with other musical styles, bringing his innovative flair to several projects in the latter half of his career. He was an artist who boasted unique versatility. He developed a hybrid sound known as "afrofunk" in his early post-Fela years, and later dabbled in electronica and dub. He went on to produce rock-inflected tracks with the likes of Damon Albarn and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Most recently, he collaborated with the late South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela on their joint album Rejoice.

No matter how far beyond Afrobeat he explored, Allen managed to put his one-of-a-kind musical stamp on every record he blessed with his drums.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox