In Nigeria in 1964, when future Afrobeat star Fela Kuti heard and hired his influential drummer Tony Allen, they were both working as jazz musicians. The following year they revamped the band into something more pop oriented. Now Tony Allen revisits his jazz roots, in a salute to his early drumming hero Art Blakey. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has a review.
Born in 1938 to a prominent Nigerian family, Fela quickly immersed himself in music, and was able to travel to London to study it at The Trinity College. Following this he began to work as a trumpeter and bandleader, and by the late 60s he stood out as one of west Africa’s most innovative and energetic musicians. His career saw him release dozens of Jazz, Highlife and Afrobeat records, right up until the 1990s before his death in 1997. Throughout his life he also gained a reputation as a political activist, pushing for an end to imperialist oppression across Africa, and greater human rights for its citizens.
After the nuclear
pollution of the great war, the atmosphere decayed to a point where life could
no longer be sustained outdoors. We moved into concrete buildings and planted
in our living spaces the few seeds that had survived. However, through
technological meditation, images and dreams from the depths of our subconscious
can be downloaded directly from our brains and manifested as physical projections of light on the surface of our concrete
walls. We have believed the visitors from space will arrive at any time, ever
since the voyageur transmitted evidence of extraterrestrial life in 2096.
when we grew tired of
the strategic elimination of black youth by the police state, we cried to the
heavens, and then she appeared from the sky, strong. Dressed in Gold and Ankara
electrifying the sea, cradling the sparkling waters sprouting from the wisdom
of our leaders who were assassinated, imprisoned and exiled. when we asked her
who we were, she pointed us in the direction of the stars. we are stars
emitting energy and light , rebuilding a civilization of love in our minds.