READ: The Drummer’s Exodus: Genesis

drumThis is a story of my life. I know it may seem like a love story, but it’s more of a success story. My name is OLAROTIMI ALABI AYANGALU a.k.a ILU ORO (Words of Drum), I am a successful musician and entrepreneur as well. Before I end up bragging, why not let’s take a trip back to where it all started.

The year 1988, the town is Iseyin in Oyo state, western Nigerian. My father and 1 had moved there 3years earlier after my mother had died in the rival clash at my birth place. We were quickly accepted due to my father’s unique drum making skills and his finesse when playing them. He marveled the audience and had them asking for more, even got to a point where people started throwing parties whenever their kids lost their teeth in an effort to get my father to play, as he never played for free and by so doing, he was able to provide for me, I never lacked anything (wonder what a village boy would want?). It was the evening of my 8th birthday celebration that 2 magical things happened, my father gave me an opportunity to play gangan in front of the guests (I had only watched him play the drums and never handled any of them before), and I was excited, got on stage and just played a tune I had created in my head. I raised my head after the last stroke and the silence that followed was immediately broken with continuous applause and shouts of encouragements. I came off the stage and it was then I saw her at a distance, her name ADESUWA ADEBOWALE, she was my best friend by the end of the year.

My father, OLAROTIMI snr, had always knackered me with the necessity for tertiary education and choosing a life outside the family business, him seeing me play that night raised his tension and he started locking up his drums and made sure I never attended his events just to kill my interest in drums and never commended my display that night. I on the other hand, would sneak to such events and would steal a drum and head off to the woods where Adesuwa would be waiting to hear me play and she will sing.  All I wanted was for my father to just commend or say something nice about my drum skills even when the entire village had done so and he hasn’t done so till this very day. He would cane me and he would caution me, by the time I was 11 I succumbed to his will majorly because Adesuwa left unannounced and I never set eyes on her again in Iseyin.


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