Nana Korantema Ayeboafo

2008 Pew Fellow

Nana Korantema Ayeboafo, 2008 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“The rhythms and the pulsating energy that we get from drums have a way of connecting us to everything else in the universe.”

Nana Korantema Ayeboafo (b. 1951) is a drummer whose work is grounded within the Akan cultural and spiritual community of Ghana, Africa, and the Diaspora. She was introduced to the Akan community in 1974 when she traveled to Africa with her first mentor of 17 years, Arthur Hall. She later spent seven years in Ghana, furthering her learning of Akan drumming techniques in the context of religious and healing practices. During this time she studied under Nana Okomfohene Oparebea, priest of the Akonnedi shrine, where she was able to master the language, traditions, and protocols, as well as drumming and dance. Korantema Ayeboafo became an initiate, continuing her training for 21 years. In 2002 she was raised to the level of the Akomfohene, head shaman of this Akan tradition for North America, a rare honor, especially for a woman.

In 1999 Korantema Ayeboafo founded StarSpirit International, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes education about African culture, facilitates international cultural exchanges, and sponsors health, education, and economic development projects. She also serves as president of the Cecil B. Moore Community Partnerships, a grassroots community organization. Korantema Ayeboafo has been the recipient of a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award and an Art and Change Award. She has been a multiple year recipient of the School Year Award from Bainbridge House, and the recipient of an Arts in Education Partnership Grant.


Grants & Grantees

Greg “Hodari” Banks is a dancer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.

In 2013, the Center funded 52 projects, welcomed 13 new Pew Fellows, and brought to Philadelphia exemplary cultural practitioners from around the world for roundtable discussions and lectures.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Mark Russell is the co-director of New York’s Under the Radar Festival, headquartered at the Public Theater.

Grants & Grantees

David Ellsworth is a visual artist and a 1999 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

The Franklin Institute is one of the oldest and leading centers of science education in the US.

Lauren Mabry unveils new ceramic works at The Clay Studio, David Scott Kessler screens his film The Pine Barrens, and The Wall Street Journal reviews Bo Bartlett’s exhibition at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe.

Grants & Grantees

Bobby Zankel is a musician and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

The William Way LGBT Community Center presents OutBeat: America’s First Queer Jazz Festival. The four-day festival will highlight intersections between sexual orientation, gender identity, and jazz history and culture.

Grants & Grantees

In 2002 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 57 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Collaborators & Colleagues

May Adrales is in demand as a freelance director, based in New York City. Her recent work includes world premieres at some of our country’s leading theaters.

Two new compositions by Arab-American composers Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach, performed by a classical Arab chamber ensemble and a Western choir for an invigorating cross-genre collaboration.

Grants & Grantees

Crossroads Music organizes public performances by accomplished musicians with roots in cultures from around the world.