Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jr. (aka. Kae Sun) is a Ghanaian born singer, songwriter and poet. He is currently based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has recieved a B.A. from McMaster University in Multimedia and Philosophy.
Five Questions with Kae Sun:
1. What role have Ananse stories played in your life?
I heard a fair bit of Ananse tales growing up; they definitely triggered my imagination. What makes them special is that each story has a strong moral lesson. This poem is inspired by the fact that I can't for the life of me remember any of the stories and the sad fact that those morals and stories can so easily slip away.
2. What has using the trope of Ananse stories allowed you to explore in your writing that you otherwise could not?
They haven’t influenced my writing yet. I’m on a journey of rediscovery. For me, the stories are most potent when narrated in Twi. That’s the way I first heard them so I’m yearning for that experience. Maybe that’s the point, you hear them as a child and if you don’t memorize and re-tell them they slip away.
3. There are so many potent lines in this poem, it's hard to pick just one to explore. Still, the one that stands out the most for me is 'If told to trade we would for the emptiness / that was born of the earth's touch'. Could you discuss this line a bit more? What inspired you to write it, what you hope for readers to take away from it?
The earth’s touch is comforting and restorative. The irony here is that when we trade all that’s given to us naturally then the earth itself cannot console us. That’s my interpretation of it off course; I encourage readers to find their own meaning in that line. It definitely addresses the consequences of giving up ones right, whether it's land or tradition.
4. In your last profile, you mentioned the role the Wole Soyinka edited Poems of Black Africa collection has on your development as a writer. Do you think that the creation of such a seminal book for the new generation of African writers is possible? Do you think it could find an audience?
I think it’s not only possible, but long overdue. I’ve come across folks, some university professors, who can’t name a single African poet. That’s sad given the richness and diversity of African poetry.
5. Here on OGOV, readers have gotten to know your poetry, but not your musical pursuits - would you like to take a moment to tell readers about this part of your life, and perhaps discuss the connection between your poetry and song?
I have an EP out currently and I play regularly in Canada. The music itself draws from a vast array of influences from folk music to hip-hop. My song writing and poetry go hand in hand, they compliment each other and address the same themes. I’m working on a full length album now which is definitely more rootsy and stripped down.
Contact Kae Sun:
Websites: www.kaesunmusic.com, www.myspace.com/kaesun