Since it emerged that drummer Tony Allen died at the age of 79 in Paris on Thursday, there has been a deluge of tributes from across the world and even in languages like Chinese, German and a host of others. Credited with creating Afrobeat along with Fela Kuti, his manager Eric Trosset said, “We don’t know the exact cause of death,” while announcing his passing.
Trosset reportedly told NPR radio that Tony Allen had been “in great shape,” died of a heart attack.
“It was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1 pm then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital, where he died,” Trosset told The Guardian.
According to AFP, the drummer’s death was not linked to coronavirus.
Global media organisations like the BBC, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and many others have been running glowing tributes about his life, music and times.
Social media has not been left out with tribute from former colleagues, friends or people who just loved his music.
Seun Kuti, musician and son of Fela Kuti tweeted in caps: Rest in power and journey well ancestor Tony Allen
Blue Note Records also on Twitter said he was a towering musical legend.
For the Broadcaster Lauren Laverne, it is “incredibly sad to hear the news”.
South African broadcaster Kid Fonque quoted Fela Kuti when he credited Tony Allen for being instrumental to the founding of Afrobeat.
Jenssen Jonas, a freelance journalist from Sweden said that one of the greatest drummers in the world has passed.
World Circuit Records stated that not only was he a true legend, he was also beautiful, kind and funny.
The musician Damon Albarn said the first time he played with the deceased, he just couldn’t find his beat but they made a connection that day.
Gilles Peterson of the BBC tweeted that he would start Friday with a tribute to Tony Allen.
Ayo Shonaiya, a showbiz personality based in the United Kingdom, wished Tony Allen a peaceful rest.
The tale of tributes was no different on Instagram and Facebook where the same sentiment ran through.
Born in Lagos in 1940, Allen, who was the drummer and musical director of musician Fela Kuti’s famous band Africa ’70 in the 1960-70s, taught himself how to play drums when he was 18.
Allen’s career and life story were documented in his 2013 autobiography “Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat”.
He said he learnt his technique by listening closely to American jazz drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach. He then created the distinctive polyphonic rhythms of Afrobeat and was said to be able to play four different beats with each of his limbs.
Allen left the band in 1979, emigrated to London in 1984, and later moved to Paris
He collaborated with a number of artists during his long music career, and was the drummer in The Good, the Bad & the Queen, with Damon Albarn, Paul Simenon and Simon Tong.