Abena KoomsonÂ is a Harlem- based performer, educator and wordsmith. She is bandleader and composer forÂ Abena Koomson’s Blacksmith OrchestraÂ (AKBO), andÂ a featured vocalist for funk rock bandÂ Van DavisÂ and Afro-beat sensationÂ Zongo Junction.Â Since 2004, she has been a member ofÂ Saheli, an a cappella trio which features her arrangements and original compositions.Â After an eleven-year teaching career, Abena originated the role of Fela Kuti’s mother to rave reviews in the Off- Broadway production ofÂ FELA!Â directed by Bill T. Jones. Abena went on to become a member of the original Broadway cast, where she also served as vocal captain. As part ofÂ One Big City,Â an innovative international program, she collaborated with Croatian visual artist Kristina Leko to createÂ CEZNJA: BORN LONGING tales and songs from Croatia,Â a multimedia oral history project featuring Croatian natives and New York City artists. AbenaÂ appeared inÂ Red Hot + FelaÂ at Lincoln Center with Kronos Quartet, and is featured on the album of the same name. In May 2015, sheÂ performed at the Joburg Theatre in South Africa for this year’sÂ Africa Day celebrations,Â and taught poetry and performance workshops in Johannesburg and Durban.Â Abena holds a Masters in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University andÂ currently serves as Dean of Students at Harlem Village Academies High School in New York City.
With Poetic Theater Productions:
Performer & Panelist for Conscious Lyrics in Conscious Language 2015