Tony Oladipo Allen, a Nigerian drummer-cum-songwriter, who worked for Fela Kuti, late Afrobeats legend, is dead aged 79.


According to Rolling Stone, Allen passed away on Thursday at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, France, where he was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

“We don’t know the exact cause of death,” Eric Trosset, the Afrobeat composer’s manager, said.

He also stated that Allen’s death was not linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital where he died,” he added.

Allen had been the musical director of Fela’s band Africa ’70 from 1968 to 1979. He is widely regarded as one of the primary co-founders and pioneers of the genre of Afrobeat music.

“Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Fela was quoted to have once said.


Brian Eno, an English record producer, also said that he was “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived.”

Allen’s life and career had been documented in his 2013 autobiography ‘Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat’ co-written with Michael Veal, a musician who also wrote Fela’s biography.

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