Linda Thomas Jones, Iyanifa Fasi Irunsewe

Linda Thomas Jones is considered one of the founding mothers of female African drumming in the United States. She began her career in drumming at the age of 18 as a dance major at Case Western Reserve University. She studied African drumming both in Ghana and with world-renowned Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and Dr. Charles Davis. In 1980, Thomas Jones created The lmani African-American Dance Company in Cleveland which taught African, modern, improvisational, and children’s creative dance classes to the local community. As a community art educator she is skilled in designing and producing community performances using African culture as an educational tool. After accumulating over 47 years of teaching experience in public, private, and institutional settings she has recently developed a program called “Girls and Grandmas Drumming Together.” The female mentoring program, for girls and women between the ages of 8 and 100, is centered on drumming and is designed to encourage healthy growth in youth while stimulating their creative abilities. She is also a Yoruba Priest Yemoja/Oshun and Elegba as well as an Ifa devotee. Internationally she has planted other possibilities for growth in places such as Costa Rica., Republic of Benin and Ghana.