Afrobeat exploded out of Nigeria around 1970, a bristling, aggressive, horn-heavy blend of traditional African music, Nigerian highlife, and American jazz, R&B, and funk. The chief instigators were bandleader, singer, and political incendiary Fela Anikulapo Kuti and percussionist Tony Allen, who, as they say, put the beat in Afrobeat. A Lagos native, Allen taught himself jazz, gravitated to highlife, and with Fela conjured Afrobeat, driven by Allen's innovative drum-kit rhythms, particularly his double-clutch bass patterns. Allen and the late Fela were together for 15 years, Allen subsequently working with juju pioneer Sunny Ade and as a session musician while releasing a series of solo albums. His latest, 2009's Secret Agent, is a glorious, blistering set of classic Afrobeat. In his local debut, Allen will lead an international nine-piece band.
Sat., April 23, 8 p.m., 2011
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