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Viola Smith

Viola Smith America’s Original Hep Girl – Female Drummer

Viola Smith is known as one of America’s very first professional Female drummers, she was often referred to as “The Female Gene Krupa.” Born in 1912, these clips are from her 100th birthday.

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Viola Smith

Female Jazz Drummers

In 1942, drummer Viola Smith sent shock waves through the jazz world by claiming in Down Beat magazine that “hep girls” could sit in on any jam session and hold their own. In Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country, Angela Smith takes Viola at her word, offering a comprehensive look at the world of professional drumming and the women who had the courage and chops to break the barriers of this all-too-male field.