Viola Smith plays drums on "Snake Charmer" (1939)

[Video Link] I like her kit!

Wikipedia: "Viola Smith (born November 29, 1912) is an American drummer best known for her work in orchestras, swing bands, and popular music in the 1930s and 1940s. She was one of the first professional female drummers."

Notable Replies

  1. mikea says:

    It started kinda slow but I got the toe tappin.'

    All those drums and she has no snare drum?
    It's like a pianist only playing on the left half of the keyboard.

  2. FWIW the bassist is not really playing her instrument, and her right hand seems awkward, like she doesn't even actually know how to play the instrument at all. Can't say for sure about the others, but I wouldn't doubt it.

  3. She's great! There's a higher resolution version here where you can see her drumming better:

  4. I noticed she was only 6 years older than my grandmother who is still living and still pretty sharp, so I wondered when she might have died. Pleasantly surprised to see she's still alive as well.

Continue the discussion

6 more replies