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Lagos No Shaking
     

Lagos No Shaking

by Tony Allen
 

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Tony Allen, drummer for Fela Kuti's band Africa 70 and one of the innovators of Afro-beat, has spent much of his solo career exploring other genres, melding them with his distinct percussion style and showing its, and therefore his, diversity. In Lagos No Shaking, however, Allen returns -- literally and musically -- to where he first

Overview

Tony Allen, drummer for Fela Kuti's band Africa 70 and one of the innovators of Afro-beat, has spent much of his solo career exploring other genres, melding them with his distinct percussion style and showing its, and therefore his, diversity. In Lagos No Shaking, however, Allen returns -- literally and musically -- to where he first started. Recorded during ten days in June 2005 in Nigeria's largest city and Allen's hometown, the album is pure Afro-beat, drawing from Kuti's sax players Baba Ani and Show Boy and local singers Fatai Rolling Dollar and Yinka Davies, among others, to complete his band. And what results is a good -- even great at moments -- album, and while it might not take you back completely to the days of Kuti's dominance, it's a lot closer to it that any other contemporary recording. The two guitars, one on rhythm and one on choppy, tinny riffs, and a bass -- probably the actual funkiest instrument on the album -- work in and out of the polyrhythms that Allen and percussionist Yinka Ogunye create as the foundation of the songs. The horns -- sharp and brassy yet slightly muted, just like they should be -- fill in when necessary, generating movement while everything else stays relatively mellow and controlled. Not that Lagos No Shaking is a relaxed record: there's still plenty of punch and swing in the arrangements, but it doesn't have the biting sarcasm and provocativeness that Kuti's music had, focusing more on feeling and continuity instead. Still, it moves, and it moves well. The band is always tight, with thoughtful, interesting grooves, and when Rolling Dollar adds his world-weary vocals, it's almost impossible not to be transported to a hot, bustling Nigerian street. "Ise Nla," the album's opener, is fun and busy, while in "Aye Le," despite its rolling horns, there's a melancholy in the scratchy vocals as he sings about the hardships of life, and the percussion and voice version of the traditional "Awa Na Re" is stunningly profound in its simplicity, the two sounds working together to bring the best out of the others without compromising their own importance. There's a genuine warmth to everything in Lagos No Shaking that comes from Allen's dexterous hands, a sincerity, and soul that can't be faked or duplicated, proving very much why he is such an important figure in Afro-beat, and why his albums should absolutely be listened to.

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Daily News - Fred Shuster
Arguably the most instantly accessible African music CD of the year. The bar is set high with the impossible-to-resist opener, "Ise Nla."

Product Details

Release Date:
11/10/2009
Label:
Honest Jon's
UPC:
4047179102520
catalogNumber:
20
Rank:
319340

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tony Allen   Primary Artist,Drums
Lekan Animashaun   Tenor Saxophone
Rilwan Fagbemi   Baritone Saxophone
Fred Fisher   Trombone
Larry Azuka   Background Vocals
Biodun "Batik" Adebiyi   Trumpet
Muritala Adisa   Background Vocals,Rap
Olufesobi "Nandela" Afolabi   Trumpet
Yinka Davies   Vocals,Background Vocals
Elizabeth Doogha   Background Vocals
Kana Eke   Background Vocals
Oscar Elimbi   Guitar
Joanne Emi   Background Vocals
Iyabo Ganiyu   Background Vocals
Omololu Ogunleye   Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Deolu Ogunsanya   Tenor Saxophone
Yinka Ogunye   Percussion,Background Vocals
Onyeka Okorie   Bass Guitar,Background Vocals
Olagunju Fatai "Fatai Rolling Dollar" Olayiwola   Vocals,Saw

Technical Credits

Tony Allen   Composer
Barbara Snow   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Muritala Adisa   Contributor
Yinka Davies   Composer
Morris Kawel   Engineer
Ademola Ogunajo   Artwork
Omololu Ogunleye   Composer
Yinka Ogunye   Composer
Kayode Samuel   Composer

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