Gateways Nigeria with Tony Allen: Afrobeat to Afrobeats

A British Council and Boiler Room partnership, Gateways Nigeria explores the contemporary music scene in Lagos and the connections between UK and Nigerian music culture. During August 2016, a series of films and features was released via Boiler Room and The Guardian, featuring contributions and performances from Tony Allen, Giggs, Moses Boyd, Don Jazzy and Mr Eazi, among others. You can check out some of the highlights below:


Masterclass: Tony Allen and Moses Boyd

​An Afrobeat drumming masterclass from Fela Kuti collaborator, Tony Allen. Asking the questions is London jazz drummer, Moses Boyd

Interview: Don Jazzy, DJ Jimmy Jatt and Dr. Sid

Don Jazzy, DJ Jimmy Jatt and Dr. Sid discuss the evolution of Nigerian music over the past two decades

Collection: Odion Iruoje and Temitope Kogbe

Insight from Odion, who signed Fela Kuti to EMI, and Temi, master record collector, on significant historical records and artists

Live: Giggs in Lagos

UK grime artist, Giggs, up close and live in Lagos

Live: Mr Eazi in Lagos

Nigerian Afrobeat singer, Mr Eazi, live in Lagos

Playlist: Davido on Nigerian Music

Afrobeats star Davido picks his favourite records from his homeland, Nigeria

Article: Afrobeat to Afrobeats

Charting the musical journey from the Fela Kuti era to the present day

Article: How Nigerian Artists Made Their Mark On British Music

A new generation of artists have helped shape British pop

Interview: Tony Allen

The Guardian spoke to the legendary drummer, Tony Allen



Afrobeat to Afrobeats

From the original Afrobeat fusion of highlife, jazz and funk, to the contemporary Afrobeats scene, Nigerian music has always had a global influence and resonance.

The music scene in Lagos is constantly evolving and being informed by other genres from around the world. Among the sounds currently making waves in the city are Grime and Road Rap from the UK. Since first emerging in East London over a decade ago, Grime’s second wave breakthrough in recent years has seen its MCs and producers reaching new audiences, new levels of stardom and influencing music globally. Interestingly, we’ve also seen the emergence of UK Afrobeats in London, with British-Nigerian artists drawing from both spheres of their musical heritage and showcasing the rich potential and appetite for this musical synthesis.

It's difficult to overstate the global influence of Afrobeat music

Afrobeats, Grime and Road Rap undoubtedly share common ground and are increasingly influencing each other’s sounds, so as part of Gateways Nigeria we brought all of this together with a live session from Lagos featuring Giggs, Mr Eazi and DJ Neptizzle.

It's difficult to overstate the global influence of Afrobeat music. Now, with the likes of Moses Boyd and Sons of Kemet spearheading one of the most progressive and exciting UK jazz movements for decades, we’re hearing the complex polyrhythms of their Afrobeat forefathers reinforcing their influence once more. Building on this legacy and connection between the generations, we asked Tony Allen to lead an Afrobeat drumming masterclass alongside Moses Boyd.



Nigerian music has proved an important influence on music culture and taste in the UK, from Afrobeat to Afrobeats. Its resonance has permeated many genres through Nigerian diaspora communities, where UK artists and audiences of Nigerian heritage straddle different worlds of music and draw these cultural influences together in unique ways. Lanre Bakare writes about how the achievements of a new generation of artists have not just helped shape British music, but given a sense of pride to the diaspora, in this excellent article on The Guardian's website.

Gateways Nigeria is brought to you in collaboration with Boiler Room. Our shared vision for Gateways Nigeria is to build cultural connections and create links between British and Nigerian artists. Check here for the latest content and updates.

Boiler Room have been supported in Lagos by SchoolHaus, helping them to make connections in the city and assisting with live streams.