Tony Allen: Secret Agent (4 stars)

Tony Allen: Secret Agent

Nick Gold – producer of Buena Vista Social Club, Toumani Diabate and other special artists – works his alchemy for British-based Tony Allen, one time drummer with Fela Anikulapo Kuti (and latterly Damon Albarn) for a wild Nigerian Afrobeat set.

Opening track ‘The Secret Agent’, with its scintillating vocals, strong female chorus and riffing horns underpinned by funky guitar rhythms sets the scene for a thrilling disc sung in Yoruba, broken English and Orobo. Significantly, Allen continues Fela’s crucial politics. ‘Pariwo’ invites everyone to shout, protest and make noise whilst ‘Elewon Po’ tackles the issue of there being too many prisoners. Every song has a message, from ‘Celebrate’ to ‘Ijo’ (dance), two sentiments which apply to everything here.

(World Circuit)

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