By Olujuwon Bukunola Philips

For Reality Weekly Magazine (June 8 – June 15, 2009) 

Oluwakemi Bamidele Adetula AKA Irawo studied accounting at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. After her youth service, she worked briefly as an internal auditor at Lagos based financial institutions until she resigned from her appointment to practice what she knows how to do best which is music.

In this interview with Olujuwon Bukunola Phillips, she speaks about her career and the entertainment industry.

How did you come about your stage name, Irawo?

I got the name from the historical birth of Jesus Christ where it was recorded that some three wise men came to visit him in the manager. It was his star that actually attracted these unusual visitor.

So, I picked my stage name from there because whenever I perform my music attracts people to come and be a part of the merry making.

How did you become a gospel artist?

From my childhood days, I have always loved music and in the process, I learnt how to play the rhythms but professionally, I started music in 2006. I also play the talking drum quite well.

Where and how did you learn the talking drum?

My first talking drum teacher was my mother followed by a professional talking drummer known as Mr Taiye Alujo and Mr Tajudeen who is a member of Sunny Nneji’s band. They both thought me the rudiments of the Gangan and the Iya Ilu talking drums respectively.

Do you see yourself as a competitor with other female drummers like Ara and Ayanbirin?

No, I don’t because the sky is wide enough for the birds to fly without commotion. Besides, the dexterity of these two talking drummers that you just mentioned motivated me to learn how to play the talking drum.

Have you had the opportunity to work with any of them?

No, I haven’t but I’m sure that when we shall all perform together. It shall be fun and great watching three talking drummers on stage. I can’t wait to see the day.

Why did you resign your appointment as an internal auditor?

I had to quit my job because I always derive joy as a professional artist. When I was working as an internal auditor, there wasn’t enough time for me to practice as an artist. So, I had to let the job go to face my music career,

Do you have any regrets?

By the grace of God, there is no regret at all because the Lord is on my side.

What were your parents’ reactions when you took to music?

I never wanted to study accounting. It was what my parents wanted. I studied it to please them. I wanted to study music and theatre arts or mass communication. My parents were against me studying these kinds of courses because they were of the opinion that those who studied these kinds of courses were unserious.

So, how many albums have you waxed?

I am currently working on my singles which will make up the songs in my music album.

What distinguishes Irawo from other female talking drummers?

What distinguishes me from other female talking drummers is that apart from the folk genre of music, I possess the ability to play different genres of music with the talking drum. I can also play musical instruments like the drums set, violin and the piano. I am also able to do a solo performances with the talking drum by playing the lead and the backup beats at the same time unlike other female talking drummers. Lastly, I can perform for long hours.  

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