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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Tony Allen

By James Rodgers
Published August 21, 2008

Lagos Shake
Honest Jon's

Lagos Shake is not the follow-up to drummer Tony Allen’s most recent Afrobeat excursion, Lagos No Shaking, which came out a couple of years ago. Consider this more of a re-imagining of that album, with artists from all over the world remixing, editing, deconstructing, recreating, or completely reinterpreting the original tracks into something almost completely new and different. Naturally, all of them still showcase Allen’s innovative drum work, offering a glimpse of how his Lagos-inspired rhythms might work in clubs from Baltimore to Rio to Berlin. Nothing truly beats the originals, but the artists here are respectful of Allen’s intentions while adding their own personalities to the mix highlights include Carl Craig’s funky, slinky “Kilode” remix and Salah Ragab’s euphoric “Cairo Version” of “Ole.” Most noteworthy is how Allen’s African rhythms fuse so easily with techno, jazz, reggae, carioca, and other styles, which shows not only how truly universal these beats are, but that on a gut level, all music is really world music.