Eight-year-old Yoyoka Soma’s favorite drummer is John Bonham, so for her entry into the 2018 Hit Like A Girl drum contest, she covered Bonham’s part on Led Zeppelin’s Good Times Bad Times. John Bonham’s drum part in the song is one of classic rock’s most legendary grooves. And, thanks to the skipping kick-drum part in the verse, one of the trickiest to pull off. That’s just one reason many are so impressed with Yoyoka.
The video, which features Yoyoka playing along to the 1969 hit, earned her a spot in the international competition’s final round. She didn’t take home the gold, but she did win hearts of anyone who saw her perform:
The Internet is teeming with cover videos, many of them by kids like Yoyoka. But there’s something special about this one, which was originally a submission to the Hit Like a Girl drumming contest. It’s not just the accuracy of the performance; it’s her loping, laid-back approach, which is not only Bonham’s greatest contribution to rock percussion – it’s the hardest part of his style to imitate.
And then there’s the glee. Watching Yoyoka whip around the kit during the chorus, you can feel the joy and abandon pouring out of her. This goes beyond “cute kid playing drums” and touches on something surprisingly transcendent.
Yoyoka has been playing drums since the tender age of 2:
“The drum was the first instrument in which I felt an interest in my life. My parents’ music peers often visited us to play together. I was glued to the powerful and dynamic performances by the drummers. At age 2, I was playing the drums as if I were playing with toys. At age 4, I started performing at concerts. At age 5, my family band Kaneaiyoyoka was formed by my parents. We have released 2 self-produced CD albums so far. Not only the drums, I also play the keyboard and perform as a vocalist. I compose lyrics and music as well.”
At 4, she started performing at concerts, and now she’s been on over 100 stages:
“As a drummer, I enjoy being groove, tones, and try to support vocalists carefully. My dream is to be the best drummer in the world. In addition, I want to be an artist who can do anything: playing all instruments, recording music, mixing the sound, and designing the CD album jackets. As I am aiming at overseas activities, I am studying English conversation. I want to become friends with people all over the world through my musical activities!”
Here is another video of Yoyoka’s amazing drum playing talents: