By Taofik Afolabi
No doubt, Queen Ayangbajumo, born Eniola Lias Abiodun, is one of the highly successful female talking drummers in the world, the Ogun State born act has already carved a niche for herself and she has became a force to reckon with in the entertainment world.
Ayangbajumo, who is currently based in United State of America, is a great singer and a competent master of ceremonies, also talented alaga iduro-alaga ijokoo.
The daughter of retired major in the Nigerian army recently shared her journey in to the entertainment world with us, she also told us about her project ‘Ayan-to-gbajumo award,with second edition coming up on July 27th, 2019 in USA. Below is the interview conducted for the multi-talented and award winning drummer and singer. Excerpt.
Can you share your family background with us?
Queen Ayangbajumo:My name is Eniola Lias Abiodun, my stage name is Queen Ayangbajumo. My parents are Mr and mrs Abdulazeez Lias. My father is a retired Army from Gbagura town in Abeokuta, Ogun state , while my mother is from Ilesha in Osun State. I was born in Ogenusa Barracks Benin City in the late 70s
Tell us about your educational background
Queen Ayangbajumo: I had my elementary School at Army Primary School, Benin, Koko Atan Primary School, Atan- Ota, Ogun State. My secondary school was Ojodu Grammar School, Ojodu, Ikeja, Lagos. I also attended Humble Commercial Institute of Secretarial Studies, Ogba, Lagos, NIIT Ikeja Lagos and . Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State.
Are you from family of drummer, where did you pick the interest in drumming?
Queen Ayangbajumo: I’m not from the family of drummer, but I picked the interest from my grandmother, my mum hails from Ilesha, Osun State and her dad was very popular and rich man while he was alive, he had three wives and all of them had three to four set of twins, my mummy was the last set of twins from his first wife.
This period, you have take the twins out to dance and beg for money, but my grandfather who was a rich man did not like that, he decided to do it in his own way by buying all types of drums and inviting all the well known drummers in Oshogbo and Ilesha every last Saturday of every month to come and drum and sing for his twins. He will also invite his friends to join him so they can spray the twins while dancing, all the wives will be singing different lyrics of the Ibeji’s, this happened for many years before he died.
After his death there was no money to continue calling the drummers and do the cooking, this prompted my grandma who had the last set of twins to be drumming and singing for her children on her own till she got the knowledge of the talking drum.
So, while growing up as a child we were always taken to Ilesha to spend our holidays with our grandma, among all the children then i was the only one that will bring down the drums where they were all hung, i will just beating it to with no rhythm and making a lot of noise with it. My grandma saw my commitment in it, she later taught me the drum part of it and by myself i started joining words together to make it more meaningful.
After my secondary school, I joined Alariwo of Africa as a backup artiste. I was with him, when he did an album titled ‘Yawa go gas’ and I left him after some times to face my studies.
However, after I finished from the Poly, I used to do chant (Ewi) in all events I found myself and still beating the drum but, I have not master it then. One day, a male friend introduced me to Lagbaja’s band leader, Mr. Muri Ayangbola and it was him that taught me the nitty-gritty of the job. When I got there, I met Ayanbinrin who had already been learning the job but she later left while I was still there. Ayangbola taught me Apala, Iya-Ilu, Gangan and others.
What were your parent’s reaction, when you picked a drum as a job?
Queen Ayangbajumo: I started very early in life, my parent especially my dad was against this trade, all he wanted me to become was a banker. He is a retired soldier, a Major in Nigeria Army, who cherished education so much. It was God that persuaded him for me and I thank God that I did not let him down.
Did you face any challenge when you started?
Haa, I face a lot of challenges when i started, especially financial problem, but with the passion, commitment and God’s grace, we are glorifying God for his mercy today.
Apart from drumming, we learnt that Ayangbajumo also sings?.
Queen Ayaangbajumo: I have always been singing from my childhood but i prefers drumming to singing and i combined both because they go together to give you the best to entertain your fans and admirers. “I sing, dance and beat drum, i have many successful records to my credit.
Your First outing ouside Nigeria, how was the experience?
Queen Ayaangbajumo: Before my first American tour, i was in Germany for performance. I got to know that female drummers are well appreciated in the western-world than Africa. After my Germany tour, Luku Jazz Entertainment, a promoter in America, New Jersey, invited me to America for performance. On getting there, I met a lot of promoters and one of them, OLANTECH Global Promotion took interest in my performance and took me all over the states in America for performance.
I played at Dallas, Texas, Posting, Maryland, Georgia, Delaway and New York. Most importantly, I played for Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) in New York for his birthday celebration. I have performed in South Africa, Germany, Amsterdam, Boston and France too. I also did lot of shows in New Jersey where i based. I’m happy to let you know that I have received lot of honours and awards, the recent ones were Yeye Asa of Texas and Cultural Ambassador in Diaspora. The experience was very awesome.
Tell us about your annual award and concert
Queen Ayangbajumo:The first edition holds in Nigeria in 2016 and it was a large turnout and the second edition is coming up in the United State of America in july 27th 2019. Ayan-to-gbajumo award is meant to appreciate all the drummers in the world both males and females, because i have never seen or heard about a talking drummer being appreciated or celebrated before and yet they are the power behind music. Drummers are not well known like the musicians, ‘AGA AWARD’ is the first to appreciate drummers and up till moment i have not seen anybody coming out to the same thing or adding the drummers into the well existing entertainment awards, so we are using the award to show them love and appreciate their talents.
In this year, we have two categories, Legend drummer and the drummer of the year, The legend drummer is for old drummer who the musician he played for is late, for instance, Orlando owo is late, but is drummer Baba Elemede is alive. Likewise, the drummers whose musician still alive and drummer is alive too, for instance, Obesere is alive and his drummer, Sharafa is alive too.
In this year, appreciation awards would be also included to make it elaborate than the previous one.