Meet Benedict Afolayan and newportFILM!

Twice a year, RISCA awards grants in a number of categories. Over the next few months, we will be profiling the amazing artists and organizations that received grants at our April 1, 2017 deadline, two at a time.

benedictProject: Folk Arts Apprenticeship, Nigerian Conga Drum
Master: Benedict Olaitan Afolayan
Apprentice: Oreoluwa Omeike
Artist Bio: I learnt my drumming skills in elementary school (grade 6) in Nigeria at the age of 12 years. I learnt it as a member of the Cultural Group in school under the direction of Mr. Wale Raji the Art and Cultural dance teacher.

Wale was renowned for playing several musical instruments, including drums. He was also a Master Drummer, and performed with several cultural groups, in addition to teaching art and dance in school. Wale had his musical skills and training from his roots, as an Ijebu man, his family was known for drum making and other percussions instruments, from there he developed his drumming skills.

When I graduate from elementary school I continued to play drums in High school. I was a member of cultural troupe where I played drums. I often organized event where drums and dance are used to entertain teachers and student.

I continue to play conga, sekere and sakara in College. The college I attended is situated in Ilorin the capital of Kwara State in Nigeria. Ilorin is one of the states in Nigeria with rich culture and arts. The serene environment encouraged me to play drums with friends.

When I came in to United States in 2015, my church Abundant Blessing Church on Minerals Spring Avenue, Pawtucket needed someone to play the conga drum, I volunteer to play and I have since be playing with the church choir.

newportfilm 1Applicant Organization: newportFILM
Project: newportFILM will present live music at newportFILM OUTDOORS, a free summer documentary film series featuring weekly screenings held at locations across Aquidneck Island. As part of this community arts program, musicians entertain the audience with a one-hour, pre-film concert. While the centerpiece of the newportFILM OUTDOORS program is the screening of a pre-theatrical release documentary, newportFILM views each film screening as a weekly mini-festival complete with a dynamic evening-long program. Prior to sunset and the beginning of a film, guests to newportFILM OUTDOORS enjoy picnics and food purchased from on-site newport film 2food vendors while listening to live music performed by local musicians.
About the Organization: newportFILM is a year-round, non-profit documentary film series in Newport, Rhode Island that features established and emerging filmmakers and their current documentary films, curated from film festivals around the world.

Top Photo: newportFILM Outdoors screening of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
Bottom Photo: newportFILM Outdoors pre-film music by Silverteeth
both photographs by Jennifer Manville Photography