In the off Broadway musical Fela!, an interpretation of the life and music of Afrobeat originator Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Ghanaian American artist Abena Koomson plays the role of the firebrand’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.
It’s a role which has profoundly influenced her career – and one that at some point forced her to take a three-year hiatus from her other love, teaching.
Koomson, a singer, poet and dancer, is also the dean of students at Harlem Village Academies in New York City.
On the phone from Harlem, Koomson is philosophical about the role of art as an educational tool. “One of the lessons art can teach you is that life is polyrhythmic,” she says. “Success doesn’t have to look similar because we’re all different. Art is developed through discipline, someone whose been to Broadway can tell you about that.”
Read it at the M&G.
Image – Abena Koomson (Inoa Photo)