Cast: Tony Allen
African music pioneer, Fela Kuti once said, ‘Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.” In this hybrid live-action/animated short, filmmaker Opiyo Okeyo follows drum legend Tony Allen as he recounts his contribution to the birth of Africa’s most exported music genre–Afrobeat.
Inspired by African American jazz drummers such as, Max Roach, Tony Allen co-founded Afrobeat with late musician Fela Kuti in 1960s Nigeria. Today at 77, Allen has recorded over 70 albums and passed the torch through his collaborations and influence on artists Questlove, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Erykah Badu, Paul Simonon of The Clash, J Dilla, Damon Albarn of Blur, Black Coffee, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), and Antibalas among others. In this hybrid live-action/animated short, filmmaker Opiyo Okeyo follows the music pioneer, Tony Allen as he recounts his contribution to the birth of Africa’s most exported music genre–Afrobeat.
Opiyo Okeyo is a filmmaker from Los Angeles with a digital marketing background. Opiyo began his career as an editor at Discovery Channel. His work has appeared on MTV, National Geographic, History, VH1, PBS, and Netflix. BIRTH OF AFROBEAT is his directorial debut.
The 2018 Nitehawk Shorts Festival MUSIC DRIVEN program offers a series of short form documentaries that highlights music as vehicle for change, and follows individuals who use this power to overcome emotional, social and economic obstacles.