Watch one of pioneering Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen’s final shows, in full

Recorded live in Pisa in autumn 2019

Tony Allen, the pioneering Afrobeat and jazz drummer who died yesterday (April 30), performed one of his final large shows in Paris last year.

The percussionist, best known for his work with Fela Kuti, serving as drummer and musical director of his Africa ’70 band, performed a show at the Cinema Lumière in Pisa, Italy in October 2019 which was filmed in full.

You can take a look at the footage below.


Although Allen’s final large-scale live performance, he did perform two intimate gigs in London in March, to celebrate the release of what would be his final album ‘Rejoice!’

The record, which documented a 2010 collaboration with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, was released on March 20.

Masekela died in 2018. In a post on his social media about the shows, at Hackney’s Church Of Sound, Allen said “It felt like [he] was there with us.”

We had a great night last night playing songs from ‘Rejoice’ at London’s Church Of Sound, it felt like Hugh Masekela ZA was there with us. Back again tonight for another show!

Posted by Tony Allen on Friday, March 13, 2020

Allen’s cause of death is currently unknown, but according to reports it was unrelated to the coronavirus.


Described by Brian Eno as “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived”, Allen is also largely considered one of the primary co-founders of the Afrobeat genre. “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Kuti famously commented.

Allen maintained a consistent output of solo material throughout his career, beginning with 1975 album ‘Jealousy’. Becoming increasingly prolific throughout the 2000s and 2010s, his last solo album was 2017’s ‘The Source’.

Appearing on the recordings of the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Grace Jones, he also played as part of supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen with Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon and Simon Tong. He released two albums with the group – a self-titled record in 2007 and ‘Merrie Land’ in 2018.