When we are talking about businesses in Nigeria, drum making is one uncommon skill that is learnt or business that people venture into. Most businesses these days are becoming obsolescence while new once are coming to life due to change in technology and change in the needs of the people. Nigerians are not found wanting in this aspect as our own culture is being displaced at the expense of western culture. Despite this, drum making is a skill that can never go extinct because it is tied to one aspect of our culture that cannot be overshadowed; MUSIC.
Music is a combination of vocal instrumental sounds or tones in varying melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre to form structurally complete and emotionally expressive compositions. Music is a refresher tonic to the troubled mind and hurting, it drives away anger, replaces discouragement and frustration with happiness, and an antidote to melancholic situation; amongst others.
Music always go with dance and both which are produced by drums are also a vivid aspect of the people’s cultural heritage. People drums at different occasions, during peace and war. Every drum has names and each ethnic group have drums that are peculiar and unique to each of them.
This cultural heritage took me down to an apprentice in drum building; OLABIYI SAMUEL IDOWU. OLABIYI SAMUEL IDOWU is one of the many youths that are ambitious , that know what they want and go for it. I enjoyed every single moment with OLABIYI SAMUEL IDOWU because I learnt a lot about drums and I even got to beat some of the drums.
IBADANKINISO: Kindly introduce yourself?.
OLABIYI SAMUEL: My name is OLABIYI SAMUEL IDOWU. I am from Osun STATE. I was born and grew up in Ibadan. I attended IMG Primary School, BCJ, Apata. I attended Adifase High School for my secondary education. I am seeking admission into the university presently. I am an apprentice where they make all kinds of drums.
IBADANKINISO: Considering the type of work drum making is, will you say it is a lucrative business?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Yes, it is a very lucrative business. Looking at it from the outside, people think it is not a profitable business but I bet you, it is. We that we are in it know that.
IBADANKINISO: Do you make this drum down or do you make them on order?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: We do build down but other times people will come to order. They will choose the type and quality of materials to use for their work. Then sometimes they want a different build.
IBADANKINISO: Are you saying there are different qualities when it comes to materials used in making drums?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Yes, there are different qualities.
IBADANKINISO: What materials do you use to make local drums?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: We use ‘OSAN’, it is like a skin; cloth – like. We usually cut it ourselves desired sizes. It comes in white and brown colors and the quality of both varies. We also use ‘ODO’ (mortar) which can be machine made or hand-made. We use ‘OGAN’ too.
IBADANKINISO: Are all these materials important?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Of course, yes. All these things make up the drum. If one is missing, you cannot call it a drum. It won’t even serve you as a drum. For example, as tiny and irrelevant the ‘OSAN’ looks, it affects the sound of the drum.
IBADANKINISO: Who are your clients?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Churches and people that plays for artists, singers or entertainers. We also have school drums, so schools also patronize us. We also do trainings.
IBADANKINISO: How long will it take one to learn it?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: It depends on how serious the person is. It can take him like a month or two.
IBADANKINISO: You mean within a month or two, I can learn how to build drums?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: No. I meant it takes a month or two to learn how to beat the drum.
IBADANKINISO: So how long does it take to learn how to build the drums?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Six months to a year.
IBADANKINISO: How long did it take you to learn how to make drums?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: I have been learning since when I was in Secondary School. This is my fifth year now. I am about to do my freedom.
IBADANKINISO: Who did you learn from?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: My boss name I Afolabi
IBADANKINISO: When you are done with training, what things have you laid down to do?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: You know, no one wants to be stagnant. As for me, I plan to better in what I learnt and not just be limited to what I learnt during my years of training.
IBADANKINISO: Do you think this work is enough for you to fend for a family in future?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: There is guaranty in the work. By the time you buy materials and imported drums, there is no how you won’t make your profit.
IBADANKINISO: What type of drums do you have?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: We have SAKARA, talking drums, KONGA, OMINI and the likes. There are also imported drums.
IBADANKINISO: What challenges is in this line of work?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: The main challenge in this business is the clients. Some customers do not are usually rude and difficult to please. One just has to have his mind to it that their satisfaction is the ultimate.
IBADANKINISO: When you started learning this work, what problems did you face?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: I thought I was not going to know how to do it. It seemed really difficult at first.
IBADANKINISO: Was it your parents that influenced your decision to learn this particular skill?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: No. I knew how to drum before and it marvels me how different drums produced different sounds and how each drum was unique in its own way. I was inquisitive how these drums were made and I guess that made me develop interest and passion for the work. Though my parents did not influence my decision, they supported me.
IBADANKINISO: In every work, there is always a particular thing one enjoys doing. Which drum do you enjoy building or which stage of the job do you enjoy most?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: I like it and enjoy it when I build local drum set. There is imported drum set and local ones.
IBADANKINISO: What does success mean to you?
OLABIYI SAMUEL: To me success is when you learning and knowing well what one learns like I have learnt drum making. It is different from when one learns half way and leaves.
IBADANKINISO: Thank you so much for your time.
OLABIYI SAMUEL: Thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.