Music

Digital Content at Barbican: Tribute to Legendary Afrobeat Drummer Tony Allen and other highlights

“I want to take care of youngsters – they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat.” – Tony Allen

Barbican announces new digital content available for everyone to read, watch and listen to for free. All content is available at barbican.org.uk/readwatchlisten and via the Barbican’s social channels. Marking the recent death of Tony Allen, Strut Records has  made a playlist, curated in tribute to the legendary Afrobeat drummer, who last appeared at the Barbican in 2019.

Celebrating Tony Allen

Following the sad news of legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen’s death on 30 April 2020, the Barbican’s Spotify channel now hosts a playlist: Barbican Profile: Tony Allen, as a tribute. A career retrospective, this playlist is curated by Strut Records and covers the full breadth of music performed by Tony Allen, beginning with his work with Fela Kuti and ending with his final track with Gorillaz.

Tony Allen last performed at the Barbican on 21 February 2019 in a collaborative concert alongside producer and composer Jeff Mills and he celebrated his 70th birthday with a special concert at the centre in 2010.

Bryn Ormrod, Creative Producer at the Barbican said: “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of legendary Tony Allen. Tony was a beautiful person with a unique talent and a wicked sense of humour, it was easy to feel affinity with him. His drumming changed music forever; a pioneer of Afrobeat along with Fela, he also had a deep love of jazz, to which he returned with a recent release on Blue Note. We were honoured to have him grace the Barbican stage on many occasions – most recently with Jeff Mills. He leaves an indelible, joyful imprint and legacy in our hearts, minds and ears.”

The playlist is compiled by Quinton Scott at Strut. The label specialises in archive compilations ranging from African, Caribbean and Latin styles to underground disco and post-punk and has also released new studio projects by Mulatu Astatke, Pat Thomas, Seun Kuti, Ebo Taylor and more.

Other highlights include:

  • Complicité’s award-winning production of The Encounter (2015), filmed at the Barbican, accompanied by a live discussion event and public Q&A with Simon McBurney
  • A specially recommissioned and recorded conversation between Karen Knorr and Anna Fox, two of the artists featured in Masculinities: Liberation through Photography (2020) in the Art Gallery
  • Family favourites chosen by Barbican Cinema curator Susie Evans to keep the over 5s entertained during lockdown

Inspired by the Barbican’s international arts programme, the curated mix of podcasts, playlists, films, videos, talks and articles enables audiences to continue to enjoy the Centre’s rich and varied programme.

Podcasts can be accessed from the Read, Watch & Listen page or by subscribing to the Nothing Concrete podcast via AcastSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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