The artist, Aralola Olumuyiwa Apake, popularly known as, ‘Ara,’ a passionate icon in Nigeria’s burgeoning entertainment industry, on Thursday, 16th March, 2016, organised an event, “Ara Meets the Press,” which held at Esporta Suites (Hotel & Resort), Magodo, Lagos.
Ara, the first world acclaimed female talking drummer, inspired by her love for African culture and heritage, gave herself very early to an ageless pillar of traditional African orchestra – The African Drum.
The talking drum, which is unique to the Yoruba people, defines Ara’s artistic presence and premium reign in Nigeria’s entertainment industry; and she has performed locally and internationally, delivering African themes that resonate with Yoruba history and heritage.
In her welcome address at the event, Aralola described her new album, “Ara De,” as an artistic expression inspired by a diversity of personal and societal experiences and an emphatic starting point of a fresh journey of quest and accomplishment for the first female African drummer to take Africa’s drum heritage to the world stage.
She disclosed that it is a multi-track production of indigenous theme spiced with elements of contemporary Nigerian musical artistry; and that her message connects with a range of social realities that defines present day Nigerian society.
According to Ara, one of her prominent give-back initiatives is: The Girl-Child Project, which focuses on facilitating the education and healthcare of less privileged young girls; and that this unique album defines her disposition to life and arts.
Mr. Chris Sodje of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) South-West Zonal Office, Akure, in a brief speech, described Ara as an ambassador of culture and a living human treasure in the making, urging the younger ones, especially the girl-child, to embrace our indigenous culture, as culture is something unique which people must imbibe; and he also expressed dismay at the way Nigerians are imbibing and living other people’s cultures.
In her interaction with guests, Ara observed that we are in a society where people see our culture as barbaric, which is very sad, explaining that it took her 25 years to come up with an album, due to the ill-treatment she got as a girl-child both from her family and her employer, as an artist, which were also life threatening.
She buttressed her place in tradition, culture and religion as a practitioner of traditional religion by pouring of libation, wearing of beads both on the neck, hands and ankles; and that she also goes to church every Sunday to listen to the word of God and further urged all to appreciate what we have and be proud of what we are, as culture, to her, is our identity/DNA.
Ara, currently a cultural ambassador to China and Latin America, also used the occasion to applaud the efforts of the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who, she said, is currently working to showcase Nigeria’s cultural sites; she also appreciated Ara Mega Band, her fans and all present at the event.
The event, which also featured a short documentary, “Ara … The Enigma,” had in attendance representatives from several media houses, including Planet TV, Silverbird Television, Rave TV, Channels Television, Inside-Out Media Ltd, Eko FM, HiP Television, The Nation Newspaper, City Magazine, Nigerian Tribune, and Radio Lagos, among others.
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) was represented at the occasion by Theresa Anaeto and Nkechi Njoku (NICO Lagos Office), and Anthony Okafor and Uju Ukwu (NICO Training School, Lagos).
NICO Lagos Office