Tony Allen performs songs from his final record Rejoice in the new short film, Tony Allen Live in London.
Shot last March, the clip documents two performances from the late Nigerian drum legend, who died in April at the age of 79. The shows were in support Rejoice — released that same month — which features contributions from trumpet player Hugh Masekela.
The short film features bassist Mutale Chashi and South African trumpet player Claude Deppa sitting beside Allen before a performance at London’s Church of Sound. Deppa stepped in for Masekela, who died in 2018.
“Unfortunately, I don’t live in London,” Allen tells the camera. “But I’ve worked with the personnel, we’ve played for years together. And he’s a South African,” he says, referring to Deppa. “I chose him to be representing the one that is not around: Hugh Masekela.”
Leading up to the release of Rejoice, Allen released the singles “We’ve Landed” and “Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be the Same),” the latter a tribute to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. The clip features footage of Allen and Masekela in 2010 at London’s Livingston Studios.
“I played two shows in London in March, which were meant to be the first of many Rejoice shows this year,” Allen said in a statement, shortly before his death. “It was good to be playing these songs on stage so many years after the recording. Unfortunately, the lockdowns started shortly after.”
Several have paid tribute to Allen in the months since his death, including Peter Gabriel, Flea and Gorillaz. Here are nine career-spanning tracks that show his genius.
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