- Late Fela Kuti's manager, Rikki Stein, has written to correct the impression people have about the afrobeats genre
- Stein maintained that while the recently deceased Tony Allen played a huge role in his days with Fela, he was not a co-creator of the genre
- The writer maintained that it should be a credit only ascribed to the late Fela Kuti
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A close friend and manager of late Fela Anikulapo Kuti identified as Rikki Stein has come out to defend the legacy of the celebrated music icon years after his passing.
Stein in an exclusive piece for Okay Africa wrote to correct the impression that recent media reports have passed as regards the input of the late Tony Allen in championing the afrobeats genre of music.
In the opening paragraph of his piece, Stein commended the genius of the late Allen and noted how Fela would have praised him as the best drummer he had ever known in their 14 years of working together.
However, the crux of Stein’s piece was anchored in the recent misrepresentation that had been given to the afrobeats genre in the event of Allen’s passing. He noted how the deceased drummer is being given the credit of a co-creator of afrobeat even when he never made such claims when he was alive.
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“Tony was a good friend of mine for many years, for whom I have infinite respect and affection, both as a human being and consummately gifted musician. I never heard him making such a claim for himself and feel that he would have found such a description of his relationship with Fela both embarrassing and inaccurate,” Stein wrote.
He went on to recount Allen’s significant contributions as a drummer who worked on about 40 albums with the late Fela. According to Stein, he could not help but agree when musician, Brian Eno, described Allen as the world’s greatest drummer.
The manager made it clear that while Allen brought in his input to production, Fela was mostly responsible for composition, arrangement, rehearsal and everything that went on inside the studio, which therefore makes it hard to easily tag the late Allen as a co-creator of the genre.
He said: "Even at sound check before a show, Fela would personally tune every single instrument, even the drums, although I doubt that he would have needed to do so with as consummate a drummer as Tony. But that's still a long way from 'co-creator' of the entire opus. From composition, arrangements, rehearsals, on stage performances and in the studio, Fela was totally in charge. Always."
Stein concluded his post by noting that the Afrobeats genre is more than just drums. He made it clear that his position is in no way to belittle Allen’s contribution but simply a way to ensure that credit is given where it is due.
"This is by no means a denigration of Tony's unique and universally respected contribution. Just an advice to journalists to carefully consider their use of hyperbole. Let's give credit where credit is due," Stein said.
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Some months ago, Legit.ng reported that Burna trended on the streets of social after saying nobody in the industry paved way for him and that he was the best thing since Fela Kuti. Burna also said he is the one responsible for the respect Nigerians currently enjoy.
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