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Afrobeat legend Tony Allen performs at the Music Box Village

The percussionist and composer performs with Kumasi Feb. 23-24



As the simmering, exciting/inciting beat behind Afrobeat, Tony Allen will forever be fused to the memory and legacy of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musical and political firebrand who changed the sound and mind of a continent throughout the 1960s and '70s. But the 78-year-old Allen — who split with Kuti in 1979 — has lived an entire second life since then: emigrating to Europe and cultivating his own branch of Afrofunk, lending his perpetual popcorn jump to art as far-flung (stylistically and geographically) as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Moritz von Oswald, Damon Albarn and Flea. Last year, working in signature polyrhythm, Allen issued A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, a four-song EP paying homage to Blakey's tributes to intricate West African percussive tradition and its influences on American jazz drumming. In September, he followed with The Source, Allen's debut for the storied Blue Note Records, on which Blakey's Messengers first appeared 70 years earlier. Here, Allen performs with New Orleans' Kumasi Afrobeat orchestra, whose 13-piece outfit is a worlds-spanning monument to the man whom, for two magical nights, they get to back by fronting. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 day of show. At 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The Music Box Village, 4557 N. Rampart St.;

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