Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela met in the 1970s through their mutual association with and appreciation of Fela Kuti. Allen, hailed as the co-founder of Afrobeat, and Masekela finally made good on their decades long talk of making an album together in 2010 when their tours coincided in London.
Hectic schedules kept them apart again as the years passed, and unfortunately Masekela passed away in 2018. In his memory, Allen and producer Nick Gold took the tapes and finished recording the album last summer in the same London studio that had hosted the original collaboration. The result is, as Allen puts it, “a South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew.”
The first single, We’ve Landed, features Allen’s spoken word commentary dedicated to the youth of today: ” the lyric addresses people at seventeen, eighteen, nineteen years old, who are slowly becoming more mature, finding out who they are and realising that it’s their generation’s turn to wake up!”
“Ten years is a long time from beginning to end of [making] an album, but my own philosophy is that everything eventually appears at the right time, for a reason”Tony Allen
The second single is Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same, written in honour of their mutual friend Fela Kuti. Allen explained: “Fela was like a brother to me. He was a true genius and I worked with him for 15 years because I believed in him so much. When Hugh and I were recording this song, Hugh immediately wanted to sing. He was singing for his friend.”
Rejoice is out on March 20, 2010, and can be ordered on CD or heavyweight vinyl. Head to World Circuit’s website to buy the record.