A splendid atmosphere of utmost entertaining quality, cordiality and opulence came to the fore at the Esporta Hotel and Resorts, Magodo, Lagos, on Wednesday, 16th March, 2016, as Aralola Apeke Olamuyiwa, popularly known as, ARA, met with reputable cultural administrators, movie producers, selected members of the private sector and media professionals on the upcoming launch of her album: “Ara De.”

“Ara De” is a special collection of Ara’s exceptionally creative, resilient evolutionary and captivating indigenous performing arts of the highest quality. It is a multi-track production of local rhythm spiced with elements of contemporary Nigerian musical artistry. It streams messages that connect with a wide range of social realities that define the present day Nigerian society. Skilfully crafted and blended with contemporary Western sound species, its alluring and indigenous sound appeal underscore Ara’s Afrocentric passion and uniqueness which stand her out truly as, “the queen of the talking drum.”

According to Ara, during the questions and answer section, “Ara De” epitomizes “an artistic expression inspired by a diversity of personal and societal experiences. It is an emphatic starting point of a fresh journey of quest and accomplishment for the first female African talking drummer from Oduduwa land to take Africa’s drum heritage to the world stage. This unique album defines Ara’s disposition to life and art. It showcases her undying appetite for experimentation and versatility. Ara has on the lyrical and sound power of “Ara De” emerged from a period of relative silence to sound her heart and soul out to lovers of dance and depth beyond the stimulus of mere entertainment contour.”

Furthermore, Ara pointed out that the gan-gan fusion of the talking drum is a climax of Ara De’s highly placed attitudinal master-class, by blending the unique sound projection of the talking drum with established musical genres, such as, Jazz, Afrobeat, Hip-Hop, Rhythm and Blues as well as Highlife in a non-static invention that grows with every fresh pedestal of artistic maturity to which Ara transcends, is a pointer to the mastery of her craft.

Earlier, Prince Tope Eluyefa, the Producer of “Ara De” had noted that Ara’s success at being able to fuse traditional beats with modern rhythms has led her to holding studio and theatre performances with musical greats, such as, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Steve Wonder, Wyclef Jean, and Angelie Kidjo; and in contemporary times with Tuface Idibia, Femi Kuti, Yeni Kuti, etc. Lovers of music should get ready for this mouth-watering bliss coming up later in the year.

In the words Prince Tope, “Aralola gave up herself early in life to this ageless yet powerful pillar of traditional African orchestra – the talking drum. This instrument reflects Ara’s artistic presence and premium reign in the Nigerian entertainment and cultural industry. Her enchanting performance dwells heavily on abstract and mystery that comes full-blown with her enabling spirit when set alone on stage as a soloist.” He pointedout further that the production of “Ara De” was a very challenging task, spanning over three years of hard work, dedication and dexterity.

ara2Speaking during the interactive session, Mr. Chris Sodje, Head, Research and Documentation Department, South-West Zonal Office of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Akure, stated that, “Ara is a multi-talented artist, looking at how she has been able to showcase to the world her vast array of skills and craft on the talking drum in an area that is seen as the exclusive preserve of the male folk speaks volumes of her dexterity and passion, that needs to be institutionalized potentially, as a Living Human Treasure.”

In a message, the Director of Production, Mr. Niyi Tabiti, pointed that the task of directing “Ara De” is one of the most interesting yet tasking of his successful career as a movie director; that the soloist nature of Ara made the job all more challenging since it takes a team to do very well in the directing personnel and materials of any film or movie.

At the end, it was generally accepted that the album: “Ara De”, which would soon hit the music stands, film marts, supermarkets and newsstands nationwide, is simply an addition to her stock in the market within and outside Nigeria. Therefore, her Manager/Marketing Director, Mr. Kayode Akinmade had enjoined that, “Ara De” should be bought wholesale as soon as it hits the market, given to friends and family. It is a music composition to be listened to, enjoyed just as its message needs to be absorbed.  

Special thanks to the ES/CEO, NICO, Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, my Zonal Coordinator, Mr. James Imohiosen, and Mr. Law Ikay Ezeh, SA to ES, for the opportunity given us to attend the programme. I wish to also acknowledge other NICO Lagos Office staffers at the event: Mr. Anthony Okafor, Tessy Anaeto, Mrs. Uju Ukwu, and Miss Nkechi Njoku.

Chris Oghenevwierhe Sodje

Research & Documentation Dept.