"There Is No End", a final Tribute to the immortal Tony Allen (Album)
They are there, always there, in a corner of our head, a bit like a benevolent presence that watches over our musical identity... these giants of music, we rub shoulders with them, we commune with them, we also snub them sometimes, and then we come back to them... yes, anyway we have time, they are immortal after all... and then one day, we learn that they are no more, that they have been devoured by disease or age, that they have fallen from their excesses, or sometimes even from a plane... we mourn them, we think that the world will never be the same without them, that it is a part of our humanity that is collapsing, a library, no, a discotheque that is burning. And then you really realise the immortality of their work, you still feel their presence, they are still there, they are there. Tony Allen is here, and even though he passed away on 30 April 2020, he released a new album one year after his death, with the equivocal name There Is No End.
Shortly before his death, the Nigerian drummer, a fellow traveller of Fela Kuti, had started working on a new project around hip-hop, and his team, his producer, wanted to seal this last stone offered to the music house by Tony Allen. The drum parts had already been recorded, all that was needed was to find artists who were up to the task! And many of them responded to the invitation to pay their last respects to the Afrobeat legend on this record. The album features stars and young talents, like those the drummer liked to promote.
There is the British Skepta who brushes the poetry of Nigerian writer Ben Okri with his abrupt grime on 'Cosmosis'. There's the splendid Sampa The Great dancing between Tony's toms and hats on the sinuous 'Stumbling Down'. There is the 'Very Beautiful' duet with Tsunami. There is the discovery of the sensual Kenyan Nah Eeto who slams her 'Mau Mau'. There is the strange Lava La Rue who probably holds the cornerstone of the album with the track 'One In A Million'. There's also Nate Bone and Danny Brown, there's Koreatown Oddity and Marlowe.
What there isn't is an end, "There Is No End", Tony Allen is there, he's always there, forever in the corner of our heads and our music libraries.