Foals’ Yannis Philippakis pays tribute to friend and collaborator Tony Allen: “Thank you for everything”

The pair made some music together that will "hopefully see the light of day soon"

Foals‘ frontman Yannis Philippakis has paid tribute to his friend and collaborator Tony Allen, honouring him as “the master”.

News broke in the early hours of this morning that the pioneering Fela Kuti and The Good, The Bad & The Queen drummer had passed away, with scores of tributes pouring in to Allen from across the world of music and beyond.

The Afrobeat legend had been working on a release with the Foals’ frontman for some years. Just last week, Yannis told NME that he was “planning to finish” off their project while in lockdown.

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Now, Philippakis has shared his memories of Allen on Instagram, adding that their work together “will hopefully see the light of day soon”.

“RIP my friend Tony,” he wrote. “One of the great joys of my life was to have had the chance to spend time with you & make some beautiful music together which will hopefully see the light of day soon. He was a beautiful and strong man. Funny, irreverent and wise. He emitted an energy like no other. Will be drinking and blasting your records out tonight. Thank you for everything. The master has left the building but his drums play on forever.”

“I’ve been writing with Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s drummer,” Yannis told NME back in 2017. “I started doing some tracks with him last year and then I was on tour. So I went back to finish them in Paris. So he’s writing a record and hopefully some of the tracks we’ve been working on will be on that album.”

Asked what he was like to work with the legendary Allen, he replied: “It was awesome. He’s 76. He smokes hash all day. He drinks whiskey. He basically invented a genre with Fela Kuti. He’s like an octopus on the drumkit. He’s an incredible drummer. It’s been nice just to be creative.”

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Tony Allen
Tony Allen CREDIT: Bernard Benant

The cause of 79-year-old Allen’s death is not yet known, but was unrelated to coronavirus. Read more on Allen’s life and tributes paid here.

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