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Thursday, 13 September 2018


- ARA  (The lady drummer)

Nigerian's top female drummer Aralola is one of the few entertainers that currently enjoy an all time local and international patronage.

A full time musician with a band and a schedule that involves moving from one continent to another at short notices, Ara as she is popularly known, reveal to us in this interview with Paul Ukpabio, on how she copes as a single mom of one and how over the years, she and her ex husband, have been able to build a friendship that impacts on the healthy growth of their son.

You have been around for some time now, and one expected that by now more and more female drummers would have emerged but that hasn't been the case, is it that your kind of work is difficult?

No, I don’t think so. More female talking drummers have emerged and are doing quite well but Ara being the first female talking drummer is the most popular because she is the pioneer. That is not to say that others are not doing well...

Are you happy with just the few numbers of female in today's Nigerian music industry?

I am not happy with it. Brands need to engage us more than what it is now. That is not to say that female artists are not doing well but the number needs to increase

What do you regard as the main unique character of your music?

That definitely, is my style of drumming and musical arrangement.

Do you still have role models out there, and have you met them in recent times?

I have met Professor Wole Soyinka and Stevie Wonder. These are my role models. But there are others that I am yet to meet.

Can you remember some of your performances or shows of which you hold in good memory and why you can't forget?

Ha, there are too numerous to mention and I must confess that I hold all very dear to my heart.

Which country do you live most now, because we hear you are always on the road or traveling?

I can live anywhere, but let me tell you, home is anywhere I have peace of mind.

Do you keep a band and isn't it expensive to keep a band?

Yes, I keep a band and yes it’s expensive but it’s a must for a brand like mine.

How do you coordinate a band and how have you been able to command their loyalty over the years?

They have loads of respect for me and I treat them well. We are family now. It’s beyond just music.

What can you say about your costume? Has your costume changed over the years?

Yes, it has. But I still maintain my uniqueness and African culture motive.

Tell us about your today's style. There was a time Ara was synonymous with long braided hairstyle then you did cut the hair?

It’s still my style. I created it. It was given me in a dream. However I have added something more to my braids, some kind of innovation.

And what other adjustment have you introduced to what makes Ara?

I have introduced more drums, Ara is the first female talking drummer but also the queen of drums. However, I keep learning new drums; I keep searching out new drums. And even then, I consider that, I have only just begun.

How about fashion, what kind of fashion appeals to you?

As per fashion, decency matters to me, being omoluabi is part of the Yoruba culture. Comfort comes next in line to me when it comes to fashion. But even then, I keep to my unique and unusual style....Orukoomol'onroomo! Ara isn't just my stage name. ARALOLA is my given name. My grandpa saw something before he named me Ara. Whatever I do is Ara. And that is how it has been.

How are you coping as a young mother with a hectic local and international music career schedule?

I am passionate about what I do. It isn’t easy but it’s what I love so I can’t complain

What unique experience can you share as a single mom and what words of encouragement do you have for working single moms on caring for their children

No matter what, young single mothers should make sure they never take out their frustrations on their children because it could be really difficult sometimes. It’s not easy playing both roles I must confess.

Does your son attend your shows?

Yes, he does and he loves it.

Your best drum?

The Talking drum remains my best drum

What vanities of life have you not been able to resist? Some ladies for instance they buy shoes every week, for others it is perfume, what is your?

I honestly have none.

Your ex was a prince, did not rub off your son, do you notice the royal aspect of him as he grows?

Yes, I do and I do tell his dad.

Are you still in touch with your ex-husband?

Yes, I am still in touch. We are very good friends now. He has remarried.

Are you looking forward to re-marriage?

Yes, I am.

What lessons would you say you have learnt from your last marriage?

My friendship with my ex-husband, has taught me a lot about life. At some point I never wanted to see him or even hear his name mentioned, but today, we talk and go on dates with our son. We have both learnt our lessons and we are more matured.

The life of a star is fabulous and exciting. What advice do you have for young people looking forward to a musical career?

They have to believe in themselves, be disciplined, dedicated and determined. They have to respect the elders. They have to treat people well, and never get carried away. It is important to also be humble, and remember nobody reigns forever; everyone has their time to shine. The Michael Jacksons, Fela, Bob Marley of this world are few. Some have been forgotten.

Which of the world leaders are you looking forward to meet soon?

President Puttin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Trump of America, Theresa May of UK, and President Macron of France.

Sometime ago, you were in China, what was all that about?

I went there to see things for myself and I am really glad I went. In terms of culture exchange

Any particular specification about the type of person he should be and are you particular about whether he should be there white man or a black?

(Laughs) He should be a God sent. I guess that should sum all the requirements up.

As a child what gave you the confidence that you can sing?

I was shown a vision at age 7 about my future...I had started drumming at age parents knew i was a special child from birth and my mum said from the time she was carrying me in her womb, she knew I was unusual and special

Who writes your songs?

I write my songs. But I also work with any good song writer out there that I find.

Why were you, particularly attracted to the talking drum?

It was during a festival. It was that particular time of the year in Ondo. I was in Primary school when I first played the talking drum and it never left my

memory. I was playing other drums then though, but even then I knew there was something uniquely different about the talking drum. So I got attached it.

When you started, weren't you scared then that the music industry is mostly dominated by men, did that worry you?

No, I wasn’t. And it never bothered me. But let me tell you about an experience I had. The first time I played the talking drum on stage, I was backstage and I dozed off. I was like in a trance, I taken somewhere by a very special looking being who told me something and performed some rituals on me and gave me something. From then, I had different visitations from the spiritual realm but that one I will never forget. I hold it dear to my heart and soul.

You do real crazy nice things on stage, tell us, do you plan those performances or it comes naturally to you?

(Laughs) Those crazy stuff as you call them, use to come natural to me when I am on stage. I guess that is the Ara in me! Then also, I can say that I rely on 70% rehearsal and 30% is reserved for spontaneity on stage.

Some ladies just love children, how many more children will you love to have?

I will love to have as many as God wills. 

Financially, how rich is ARA and what does success mean to you?

Success to me is the number of people I have been able to impact on and add value to their lives. Not money or material things. I always have it at the back of my mind that we came to this world with nothing and we will go back with nothing.

And do you find time for yourself?

Do I? Hmm. I have not had a vacation in the last 10 years. I am sure that I need a vacation now!

If you have opportunity for a vacation now, how do you want to spend the vacation?

I will use the time to eat healthy food, working out, and sleeping.

1 comment:

  1. Good Paul, this show your news judgement and vision for tomorrow on your blog. Am impressed with the story on Ara whom I never really understand until your features. there's however need for you and Ara to see her call as making Nigeria good tourism wise
    Well done


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