Nana Korantema is also both the artistic director and the unifying force behind the renaissance of the Arthur Hall Afro American Dance Ensemble Alumni in Philadelphia and of Ile Ife Films and the Arthur Hall Collection in Maine. Her long association with Arthur Hall and her profound knowledge of traditional West African cultures make her uniquely qualified to realize a Renaissance on Sacred Ground.
Nana entered the doors of the Ile Ife Center in North Philadelphia as a teenager and worked with Arthur Hall for many years as a singer, drummer, and dancer and also, eventually, as a music director and a concert manager. She travelled with the Dance Ensemble on their historic tour of West Africa in 1974, where the company was received by Nana Akua Oparebea, the Okomfohene at the Akonnedi Shrine in Larteh, Ghana.
Arthur Hall being received by
Nana Okomfohene Akua Oparebea
in Larteh, Ghana, 1974
Nana Akua Oparebea encouraged Arthur (with his newly bestowed Akan name, Nana Afo) and Nana Korantema to establish a traditional West Arfrican shrine in Philadelphia. The Asona Aberade Shrine was originally consecrated on the third floor of the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center, 2544 Germantown Avenue, and remained there for many years. In 1977, it became the first traditional West African shrine to be officially recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and under the careful stewardship of Nana Korantema, the Asona Aberade Shrine remains a stong and beneficial part of the community to this day.
The third floor landing
of the Ile Ife Center
Nana Korantema returned to study in Larteh and became an Okomfo in 1978. She remained in Ghana for a total of seven years of rigorous study with Nana Okomfohene Akua Oparebea, a tutilage which would eventually stretch to over twenty years. In 1981 she was appointed the official Okomfo representative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and in 2002, Nana Korantema became Nana Akomfohene Korantema Ayeboafo, the spiritual head of the Akan tradition in all of North America.
This is an unprecedented story. Nana Korantema is one of the first African American to undergo such centuries-old training. She has gained extensive knowledge of the Akan culture, its rites and protocols, its traditional music, song, drumming, and dance, and she is now the living representative of Nana Okomfohene Akua Oparebea.
A charitable nonprofit, StarSpirit International also includes the StarSpirit Press, which publishes and distributes books and CDs, including:
50 Years and Counting
The Legendary Art and Genius of Arthur Hall
By Barbara C. Wallace
African Shamans and Ancient Shrines
By Barbara C. Wallace
Index of the Alumni subdirectory
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