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Music by Foals’ Yannis Philippakis with the late Tony Allen is finally coming next week

A long awaited musical collaboration between Foals‘ Yannis Philippakis and the late Tony Allen will finally arrive next week.

Philippakis first spoke about to NME about working on music with Allen back in in 2017. The pioneering Afrobeat drummer, who played with both Fela Kuti and The Good, The Bad & The Queen, died in 2020 and the music had been in development for some time ahead of his passing.

“I’ve been writing with Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s drummer,” Philippakis told NME in 2017. “I started doing some tracks with him last year and then I was on tour. So I went back to finish them in Paris. So he’s writing a record and hopefully some of the tracks we’ve been working on will be on that album.”

Now, in a recent Instagram post – which you can see here – Philippakis shared that the new music would be arriving next week.

“Introducing…Yannis & The Yaw. New music featuring Tony Allen coming next week,” Philippakis wrote on Instagram, sharing a link to the music’s website here.

Tony Allen – CREDIT: Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images for OGR/

Speaking to NME in 2017 about what it was like to work with Allen, Philippakis said: “It was awesome. He’s 76. He smokes hash all day. He drinks whiskey. He basically invented a genre with Fela Kuti. He’s like an octopus on the drumkit. He’s an incredible drummer. It’s been nice just to be creative. I really want to have a bit of a break before we start writing for Foals, so it’s the perfect cross point. When I’m in my house and I’m not writing anything I start to go a bit mental.

“I have to do something so this is the perfect thing to do that isn’t Foals. It’s been a real honour to get to write with him. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been writing bits here and there, but I don’t know if it’s for Foals yet. We’re not in a hurry.”

Philippakis also gave an update to NME last year about the project. “It’s pretty done now,” he said at the time. “We’re in the very final mixes. David Wrench [David Byrne, The xx, Frank Ocean, Sampha, Caribou, Blur, Arlo Parks, Florence + The Machine] has mixed it. It’s going to come out next year.

“I need to figure out how to present it to the world and come up with a name for it. Hopefully we’ll play some shows to honour the project and to honour Tony. I’m really excited and think people are going to love it.”

He continued: “The songs have amazing grooves obviously, with Tony Allen on drums. They’re quite dirty, quite rough, fun, polyrhythmic and some of them are quite up-lifting. There’s something generally liberating about having a separate project. It feels like a holiday, in a way. Even thought I always put 100 per cent of myself into everything, by virtue of it not being a Foals project it feels liberating in certain ways.

“The lyrics are slightly different and slightly more political. They’re less introspective and have more of a social edge. I was walking to studio in Paris through trash-filled streets due to the strikes, so some of that crept in. I don’t want to give too much away. I want it to be a document of the time that we were together in Paris and for it to be faithful to this Parisian band with Tony as the drummer.”

When news of Allen’s passing broke, Philippakis shared an emotive tribute about his time working with him. 

“RIP my friend Tony,” he wrote in 2020. “One of the great joys of my life was to have had the chance to spend time with you & make some beautiful music together which will hopefully see the light of day soon. He was a beautiful and strong man. Funny, irreverent and wise. He emitted an energy like no other. Will be drinking and blasting your records out tonight. Thank you for everything. The master has left the building but his drums play on forever.”

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