In 2016, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a two-day session working with the great drummer Tony Allen, who he admired intensely for his influential, multi-genre work with the likes of Fela Kuti, Sébastien Tellier and Jeff Mills.

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Heading into a smoke-filled, ‘70s throwback studio in Paris, Yannis had expected them to make a nostalgic Afrobeat record. Yet something very different emerged. As the pair quickly established an intuitive telepathy, the music germinated from jams and loops, its varied touchpoints – rock, funk, jazz, dub and more – were complemented by a unique atmosphere of two cultures and creatives colliding, their expression liberated by making music in and for the moment itself.

Joined by Tony’s regular collaborators Vincent Taeger (percussion, marimba), Vincent Taurelle (keys) and Ludovic Bruni (bass, guitar) that first meeting resulted in a handful of near complete songs, which were further developed during a couple of subsequent sessions. But between scheduling issues and Covid restrictions, the recordings were never completed before Tony passed away in April 2020 at the age of 79.

Yannis felt a deep duty to complete the project, not only as a bittersweet way to honour and celebrate his friend, but also because Tony had been so eager to share these songs with the world. The result is the upcoming five-track EP, ‘Lagos Paris London’, under the Yannis & The Yaw umbrella – a project that he plans to return to in the future for further collaborations with inspiring musicians from across the globe.

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Walk Through Fire

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