Skip to content

More Tony Allen – Fela’s Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense

Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense Album ArtImportant Addendum: The drummer on this album is not Tony Allen, I shoud have checked the credits. It was made after Tony Allen left Fela Kuti’s band.
In a recent post I linked to the Fela Kuti Bandcamp Account. I was immediately drawn to the album called Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense and was delighted to hear the album’s title track open with the same groove that my first Afrobeat related post about Ariya Astrobeat’s African Kings has in its intro. I like discovering these relationships between musical thingys and guess the Ariya groove was a tribute to this track. When the main instrumentation comes in, I had one of that strange experience where you realise that what you thought was the One is something else altogether, like Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower or The Eagles’ Take It Easy.

I turns out that African Kings’ One is Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’s Two-&. The drums are mixed pretty low on the track once the other instruments come in so I’m not sure what Tony Allen is playing on the hats but I assume it’s 8ths like in the intro. I’ve charted out the main groove plus some additional hi-hat patterns – the “straight swing” I hear in a lot of Afrobeat; three sixteenths, which emulates the feeling of the woodblock at the beginning of the track, the quarters and the &’s.

Once you can play them all, practice moving between the different hi-hat patterns.

Here are some more variations you can try:
1. Play the groove on the ride with left-foot playing two & four; then all the quarters and finally, all the &’s.
2. Play open hi-hat sounds on the numbers and then on the &’s.
3. Play the African Kings version starting on the Two-&

Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

Listen here:

You can download the PDF here.