Aralola Olamuyiwa is the most celebrated female talking drummer in Nigeria. The English graduate of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma had a chat with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine and spoke on her new movie, Osun Funke, why her autobiography is delayed, people’s misconception about her and more…
What have you been doing lately?
I just finished shooting a movie, Osun Funke. I played the lead role with Ricardo Agboh. We also have Doris Simeon, Baba Wande, Dejo Tunfulu, Gongolugo, Peju Ogunmola and many other wonderful actors in the movie. I’m also working on another project that is still under wraps for now.
You said some time ago that you wanted to do your auto-biography, how far have you gone with the project?
It’s still ongoing. We have to change a lot of things about the book. We were undecided after sometime if we should go on with the original plan or change it. We had one or two issues about it, but the project is still ongoing. It will definitely be out. We are looking at launching the book after my album launch, which will be coming up anytime soon.
Do you think being a drummer and singer has anything to do with your acting career?
Being a drummer and a singer is something that I’ve been doing for years now; going into movies is to complement my style. I did my first movie in either 1997 or 1998. I can’t remember precisely now. I went into movies for a reason, being a cultural ambassador. I want to look at it from the angle of tourism and culture and I want to do it differently with wonderful movie directors, actors and actresses in Nigeria. I decided to do my own differently in Ara way and hopefully, it’s going to turn out successful.
Being the first and the most celebrated female drummer in Nigeria, what has it done for you?
It has done a lot. Being the first female talking drummer and the most celebrated has opened a lot of doors for me. In fact, loads of doors and I’m always grateful for that opportunity and I’ve been giving back to the society in my own little way.
What has it not done?
Well, I always look at the good side of things. What has it not done? What has it not done? Whao! I can’t think of any right now. I can only think of the things it has done.
What does it take to be a good drummer, most especially for young girls who see you as their role model?
To be good at whatever it is you do, you need to be focused, determined, disciplined and be dedicated and you’ve got to have passion for anything you do. If you have all these criteria and above all, have God, because He gives everything, you will make it.
What is it that most people don’t know about you that pains you?
People think I’m snobbish, but I’m not snobbish. It is just that Ara on stage is different from Ara off stage and maybe it is because a lot of people come at me, but I don’t want to draw the line. But really, a lot of people think that I’m snobbish, but I’m not at all.
What informs your casual mode of dressing most times?
I love to feel free, I love me, even though I wear jeans, stretch or leggings or anything. You either find me with either an African Ankara or other accessories like that. I just like to be natural, feel free and comfortable.
We know you to be Ara with the long braids, why the hair cut this time around?
I still wear the long braids. I just decided to cut my hair now to feel free. But if I have to go on stage and my client can afford to pay for the hair, I charge for the hair separately.
(Cuts in) You mean there is a special charge for your long braids?
Yes! I charge for it separately. So, if that is the kind of Ara you want, fantastic. You pay for it, because that is the brand and if you want Ara with the talking drum without the braids, it’s a different charge also. But you still get drumming and singing at the end of the day.
How much do you charge for Ara in braids?
(Laughs) When my clients come, we negotiate that, but it depends on who I’m negotiating with. I can give you the minimum or the maximum charge because the price is not fixed. So, the caliber of my client determines the charges and with that, I know what to do.
How long do you intend to stay on this low cut?
It’s going to stay as long as I feel like having it. I’m very adventurous, very daring and weird, so it depends, because tomorrow I might just decide to shave everything off.
NB: First published December 2013