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Objetsmart Music: Tony "Anthony" Allen

The center highlight of my working odyssey in the music industry occurred in a short email. I received it one day while returning from lunch. It was from the label's accountant and often receptionist. For weeks, I had been writing charming notes to my favorite producers around the world, doing A&R ambassador work for a remix record of a local artist. My charm and writing skills were put to full effect. One of the craziest suggestions that my boss approved was to allow me to approach Tony Allen, the legendary Nigerian drummer. So much of Fela Kuti's legendary sound stems from Tony Allen's polyrhythmic jamming and it's been said that listening to him drum is like hearing five drummers at once. I would argue, it's like hearing six. So I tracked him down through the worldwide family and wrote him a short email. I didn't expect any response. Yet one day, I came back from lunch one day to receive a message that said, "A man from France named Anthony Allen called for you." The accountant had no idea who it was and I walked around the office in glee the rest of the afternoon, reveling in the fact that my favorite drummer in the world had actually called me from France and totally pissed off that I wasn't there to get the call. Tony was traveling and didn't leave his number, but this pretty much made my year. Hell, I think it made my musical life. I took out all my Tony Allen records and listened to them for about a month after and marveled at how wonderful his music was, how blessed we are that technology allows us to record it and how my life has been changed in positive ways just hearing his music, which has always been a steady soundtrack in the often lonely writer's life.

Last year, my friend Heather recounted stories of how playing tennis was effective in relieving people suffering with post-traumatic stress as certain brain waves are activated when concentrating on keeping one's eye on the ball. I was thinking about this tonight driving in gridlock traffic that I believe in her theory, but also wanted to add that I believe polyrhythmic music accomplishes a similar goal with one's ears. There may be little scientific evidence to back me up, but I can attest to its power of greatness in transcending moods and the often brutality of modern life. With that said, Thanksgiving is upon us and I want to give thanks to the musicians around the world for sharing their talents with all of us. Your songs and beats make the world a much better place.

So for Thanksgiving, here's a little Tony for you...

Afro Disco BeatTony Allen
"Jealousy" (mp3)
from "Afro Disco Beat"
(Vampi Soul / Light In The Attic)

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