That actress Olushola Kunmi Benjamin is talented is not in doubt, given her ability to dance, drum, sing and chant praises, which in Yorubaland is known as Oriki.
However, an area that she has stood out is in her expertise in playing the Riverine drums.
Learning under the tutelage of Isioma Williams, a frontline drummer and dance chereographer who owns Drumsview at a time when women do not even venture to do so was what attracted attention to Shola.
“After training at the University of Port Harcourt and having further honed my skills in acting, I decided to venture into an area exclusively the preserve of men, which was playing the Riverine drums,” she revealed.
“I was told I need at least six months to get a hang of playing it. The drumming is made up of about 32 different pots, some of them filled with different levels of water and which has to be played at the same time. To the surprise of my tutor and others, I mastered that skill in about 4 months” she reminisced.
Shocked by how fast she was able to get the hang of the Riverine drumming, her tutor added the Sakara, a traditional Yoruba drum to her course content while at the same time teaching her different dances and songs.
“I set my mind to knowing that particular drumming because I spent part of my childhood in Portharcourt, and it was why I was able to quickly acquire the skills needed to play it. The Riverine drumming gave me an advantage and knowing how to intricately fill the pots before playing took my career a notch higher. The demand for my services soared being a lady and I did not disappoint them,” she said.
Having worked across all areas of the performing arts, Ms Benjamin feels more at ease on the live stage.
“I like the adrenaline of the live theatre. You have to know your lines, your movement as there is no chance for a second take. It helps you be more prolific and you derive great joy from knowing your skills is giving so many people happiness right in front of you,” she concluded.