Rocky Dawuni

Rocky Dawuni

Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | INDIE | AFTRA

Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2002
Band World Reggae




"Rocky Dawuni Releases New Video for Neva Bow Down"

Ghanaian Afro-roots veteran Rocky Dawuni today released the video to his latest single ‘Neva Bow Down’, which is available for streaming and download across all major digital platforms.

‘Neva Bow Down’ was published by Aquarian Records. It is Dawuni’s first single since his nomination for Best Global Album for Voice of Bunbon, Vol. 1 at the 64th Grammys earlier this year. It features Jamaican act Blvk H3ro, popular for his ambitious modern reggae sound which has earned him collaboration with the likes of Bunny Wailer, UB40, Equiknoxx and Skillibeng.

The clip, directed by Sling Shot HD, arrives two weeks after the song was released and it features captivating protest scenes that have come to characterise rebel music over the decades.

Sonically, the Bob Riddim-produced record deploys elements of pop, dub and reggae for the meditative protest anthem, which explores the current state of global affairs and our collective power to change the course of history. According to the artist, it serves as an inspiration for people to stand up for what is right and true.

​“In a time when our world is at a crossroads with systems and society confronting fundamental changes,” Rocky Dawuni said. “There is a crucial need to speak truth to power, to challenge the status quo and to inspire people to find the courage to create a restorative vision of the future that defends the core essence of who we are as human beings and our interconnectedness to nature.”

​​Rocky Dawuni straddles the boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas to create Afro-roots, which fuses elements of reggae, Afrobeat, highlife and soul. As an activist, he has been a leading voice for social and environmental transformation and currently serves as UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa.

The artist appears on Ghanaian folk singer and guitarist Kyekyeku’s Funky Pangolin album in the single ‘Africa Till I Die’, which is centred on a constant obligation to defend their affection for the continent in the face of constant negative media framing. - Music In Africa

"Rocky Dawuni New Release"

In a time of uncertainty, we need songs and hymns that can touch our emotional nerve and remind us that love and hope are an indestructible aspect of the human experience that no amount of fear can take away.” (Rocky Dawuni)

A mere 20 months after his fine Beats Of Zion album, Rocky Dawuni is back with an EP entitled Voice of Bunbon - and the Vol. 1 suggests that we can look forward to a second part as well! Bunbon, a tiny town in the dry regions of Ghana's far North, is the birth place of the singer, musician and social activist who was brought up with the traditions and culture of the local royal family. This upbringing and his strong connection to his home country is reflected in the eight tracks included, tracks that speak of current events (Ghost Town), love (My Baby), empowerment (Beautiful People), faith (Difference), hope (Born To Win) and the little joys of life (Gonna Take It Easy).

A host of instrumentalists made sure that Rocky's ideas were faithfully translated into music (among them John McKnight, Anthony Brewster, Andre Morris, Ed Dixon, Akablay Anthony, Tony Chin and Prince Annan), resultig in an authenticity that caresses our ears. My Baby, for example, includes skilfully played percussions and guitars that transport us to the Highlife traditions of West Africa. Sung with the local flavour of Ghanaian Pidgin English, the love song is an instant favourite of mine (being a fervent proponent of linguistic diversity). "If I no get money, would you still love me oh?" - no way you can evade this charme!

Naturally, the subsequent track will make the hearts od world music lovers beat faster as well. In a style that bears proof of the roots of Jamaican Mento, Woara sings about... well, I can't tell you what exactly, but the infectious melody invites hum-along all the same.

The Corona-inspired Ghost Town is a calm, acoustic piece that describes the dramatic effects of the global lockdown on a local scale, resulting in empty streets and a disquieting fear, a fear that the singer promises us to disappear.

With Gonna Take It Easy, Reggae enters the picture, clad in a beautiful Roots robe. The song talks about the daily grind of work and the relieving feeling of an evening or a weekend of rest. The ride is continued with Beautiful People, an uplifting livication to us in which Rocky explores his full vocal range. Leaning more towards Pop, Born To Win convinces us that "which way your life will turn is always up to you."

Modern programming was part of the production process as well, however, and can be heard on tracks such as Hustlers (which tells an autobiographic tale) or Difference. The latter plays with Afrobeats elements and is made extraordinary not only by the lyrics, which are among the most touching of the EP, but also by the amazing transition at 00:50. "We cannot go wrong if we cherish what will make us strong."

The Voice Of Bunbon has spoken! Those who like Rocky Dawuni's former works will love this EP - it adds a new flavour to the artist's output without losing his characteristic style. Well done, Team Rocky! - Reggaeville

"Princess Eugenie Launches Mini Series"

Princess Eugenie has announced a new mini-series on ocean conservation ahead of the upcoming UN ocean conference.

The Princess made the announcement via her official Instagram page yesterday (9 June) to mark World Oceans Day.

Speaking directly to camera in a video, she said she wanted to share some words and hear from experts about why we should “protect the ocean and how vital it is that we do so.”

In the Ocean Advocate Series, Princess Eugenie promised that we would, “hear from some incredible people who’ve sought to protect the ocean and what lives in it for many, many years.”

In a second post, she revealed her first guest will be musician and activist Rocky Dawuni, who the Princess said she met at COP26 where the pair “quickly realised our paths are intertwined and that our mission is to help our environment and oceans.”

In the video, her first guest can be heard describing the ocean as the “life blood of humanity.”

Princess Eugenie is an ambassador of the Blue Marine Foundation which works to protect the ocean through its work.

She asked people to, “Please tune in over the next couple of weeks to hear from these remarkable people who are protecting the ocean and the wildlife in it, from oysters to sharks. We can support and care for the ocean like one of our own.”

The environment has very much been on the royal agenda of late, in particular from Prince William who launched the new Earthshot Prize and spoke about climate change during the Queen’s Platinum Party at the Palace concert over the Jubilee weekend. - UK Style Yahoo

"Rocky Dawuni: “As artists, we’re igniters of flame—we’re catalysts.”"

Be Heard: Guitar Center is celebrating artists, brands and organizations that are using music to raise awareness on critical issues facing us all, to help us heal, to bring us together—to make the world a better place.
Grammy-nominated Afro-roots artist Rocky Dawuni recognized the power of music early. Growing up in Ghana, where music is an integral part of everyday life, he was surrounded by a rich tapestry of melodies and rhythms that resonated deep within him. He knew at a young age that music would be the path he would take in life. “I was attracted to melodies, different types of music, and I discovered I could easily interpret and reinterpret other people’s music I heard on the radio,” Dawuni said. “For me, music is the essence of life … the fundamental language of nature. It’s the true communicative vehicle for the soul.”

At a time when the Ghanaian military ruled the country, Dawuni felt a deep sense of empathy for the people around him. He felt a responsibility to look out for his fellow man and to make sure they were okay. “It became a spark in me,” Dawuni said. “If we can start viewing the world that way, we can create a better world. You are your brother’s keeper. We’re all in this together. As you do for others, so will others do for you.”

“I recognized that music was a medium where you could create an environment of conversation,” Dawuni said. “I wanted to be a musician that used my art form for something meaningful … music that could be a tool for social transformation.”

Today, Dawuni not only tours the world with his uplifting music and messages, he also serves as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa. Most recently, he started the Rocky Dawuni Foundation to train and empower young leaders to be the igniters of change within their own communities.

“Activism is important because we need to be instruments of what’s going on in our world,” Dawuni said. “We need to have an outlet to articulate our views. We need to have the ability to express our individuality and elevate our voice when we see things in the world we can contribute to. I feel that activism is the power of expression, and that power is the right of everybody. You have to be concerned about what’s going on. You have to participate in what’s happening. Your voice needs to be heard.

“I feel that when I look at the world, there are a lot of people whose voices are stifled—a lot of marginalized communities,” Dawuni said. “There are a lot of issues that need to come to the forefront, but they get lost. I feel activism is a means to draw all of our attention to focus on what is important. As artists, we’re igniters of the flame—we’re catalysts. In doing so, others can be inspired to shine their light and elevate their voice to become instruments of change in their own environment and communities.” - Guitar Center

"Afro-roots musician Rocky Dawuni to detail youth, tree projects at GLF New York"

U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Environment to lead major tree-planting in Accra
Youth cultural incubator to be built in complex near Aburi, Ghana
Members of the press must apply to attend GLF by Sept. 23 due to on-site security
NEW YORK (Sept. 6, 2019) – Ghanaian-born Afro-roots musician and humanitarian activist Rocky Dawuni is set to rock the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in New York on Sept. 28. His acoustic performance will wrap up activities at GLF, which conclude a week of action at the United Nations highlighting the urgent need to act on climate change.

Dawuni will select from his album entitled Beats of Zion, which was released earlier in 2019 with a video filmed in Jamestown in Ghana’s capital Accra.

He will also announce two new humanitarian initiatives. The first is a landscape restoration project to plant 100,000 trees in Accra in collaboration with the city’s mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah.

“It’s vital that we restore this urban landscape,” said Dawuni, who uses music to highlight crucial issues facing humanity. “Mass tree planting in cities can help shore up global efforts by mayors to offset the impact of climate change.”

Like many urban centers around the world, Accra, with a population of 2.3 million people, faces environmental and economic challenges related to an increasing influx of people from rural areas seeking opportunities. Worldwide, 55 percent of people live in cities, and by 2050, the United Nations projects that number will grow to 68 percent.

He will also announce a cultural project initiated through his foundation. Dawuni, a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa and a U.N. Foundation Ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance, is overseeing the development of a series of cultural” incubators” for youth to develop their musical and artistic talents. The incubators will also allow for community outreach and educational opportunities.

The first center will be housed in the rambling studio complex originally created by singer Rita Marley in honor of her late husband, reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981) near the city of Aburi, about 35 kilometers north of Accra. It is currently under architectural restoration.

“Many West African youth, despite their great potential, lack opportunities,” Dawuni said. “Our vision is to develop a new generation of leaders who are committed to improving their own communities through skills-based training, personal initiative and collective action.”

In 2018, Dawuni, who is based in Los Angeles and Ghana, performed an outdoor concert at GLF Nairobi. He was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, Branches of the Same Tree.

GLF New York will be attended by 700 climate, Indigenous and youth leaders, environmental activists and musicians who will demarcate vital restoration strategies in preparation for the launch of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

The decade will provide a framework for landscape conservation and restoration, a process critical for curbing global warming and meeting U.N. climate targets aimed at preventing post-industrial average temperatures from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius or higher.

Learn more:

Climate leaders to map out U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration at GLF New York
Indigenous teen activist Autumn Peltier to advocate for water rights at GLF New York
Street artists paint massive mural in lead up to U.N. Climate Week
Plant-for-the-Planet to launch app at Global Landscapes Forum in New York
Timeline: Road to U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030)

Rocky Dawuni “Beats of Zion” Listening & Sales Link for all platforms:

“Beats of Zion” video - Global Landscapes Forum

"World Interfaith Harmony Week Participants Praise Ethiopia for Practicing Religious and Cultural harmony"

Addis Ababa February 02/2018 Ethiopia has to share its longtime experience in religious and cultural harmony to the rest of the world, some participants of the World Interfaith Harmony Week said today.

More that 75 delegates attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week marked for the first time outside the UN Headquarters.

Some delegates told ENA that Ethiopia is an inspiration for the world in practicing interreligious peace and harmony in a country with people who have diverse religions and cultural practices. - Ethiopian News Agency


Rocky Dawuni and John Legend joined forces on Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, CA to help raise funds for the Women's Campaign International organization.

Rocky Dawuni and John Legend treated women to an unforgettable afternoon in sunny California with a special performance as they celebrated women and girls empowerment and leadership from across the globe.

Women's Campaign International with the help of Rocky Dawuni and John Legend were able to raise funds for women and girls.

The event dubbed Women’s Campaign International “Spring to Make a Difference” Fundraiser also featured special poolside performances by teenage singing sensation Maddie Miller.

The successful event was hosted by Cameron Penny of Rick Dees Entertainment at the home of Linda and Syd Leibovitch (Owners of Rodeo Realty).

The lovely guests that attended enjoyed live, soulful music and free flowing cocktails, all while making a difference in the lives of women around the world.

Campaign International (WCI) was founded in 1998 by former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, WCI’s programs help women find their voices by giving them tangible skills in political leadership, conflict mitigation, economic empowerment, and civic engagement.

Ghana’s international music star Rocky Dawuni has leveraged his popularity within and without of the Continent to champion social causes and inspire a generation of artists alike.

Dawuni’s eloquence as well as his successful melding of musical celebrity and social action has made him a spokesperson for various causes worldwide. Over the last few years, his music and electric live performances have attracted thousands to his concerts.

Rocky’s upcoming new album, “Afro Roots,” fully captures his unique fusion of Afro Beat and Reggae while confirming him as an artist in the tradition of both Fela Kuti and Bob Marley in utilizing his music to uplift, unify and inspire. - GHANAMUSIC.COM

"ROCKY DAWUNI featured in RollingStone Indonesia"

Ubud - Not many people like Rocky Dawuni on planet Earth. Men dreadlocked birth Ghana is touted as "Ghana's Bob Marley" thanks to issues of social removed through the lyrics of the song that has a fusion feel of reggae and Afrobeat, the two types of music that does it listen to since young. Rocky is also active in the activities social. He is listed as one of the ambassadors of Product Red, which was founded by U2 frontman, Bono, raise awareness about AIDS as well as raise funds to remove it from the African continent. It is also the originator of the music festival in Ghana named Independence Splash Festival which was held to remind the entire community Continent Africa as a whole will become independent in the interests of modern life. "Independence is something we should not forget anytime soon. No matter when the first time the country won its independence, "said Rocky told Rolling Stone . Every year, Independence Splash Festival is estimated to suck up 30 thousand visitors. achievements in the music circuit was no less remarkable. Last August 2011, Rocky appeared in the legendary venue, the Hollywood Bowl, at the invitation of a living legend Stevie Wonder. Some other names that also enliven the event include Janelle Monae, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and Grace Porter. In addition, the Rocky is also a recipient of one of Africa's best ten list version of CNN . Here is the interview Rolling Stone with Rocky Dawuni in Bali, a day before he served as the last day of the performers (fourth) BaliSpirit Festival 2012. do you think Bali is a state in accordance with the hype that acceptable? This is my second time coming here and I feel that the hype was just not enough to describe how important this area. I think the culture of Indonesia itself, as a whole, provide many lessons for other parts of the world about living in harmony among diverse cultures. Just imagine, Indonesia has thousands of islands, different cultures, different religions. While having the status as the country with largest Muslim population in the world, but there is a beautiful harmony here. Bali should be used as a starting point for tourists from around the world before it came to other parts of Indonesia. Cultural treasures in Bali to make the hype that was not acceptable. How spiritual condition here when compared to other places you have visited before? I come from Ghana, and I grew up in a family environment with a wide range. Ghana has everything from traditional religion, Islam, and Christianity. My father was a Muslim, I am a Christian mother, and we are in the neighborhood believe that the majority of traditional religion. So I was exposed to the religious experience is very different. But every religion also has a strong human element. God gave man religion so that people can become better in life, so there is a relationship between people with different religions of every region. And Bali is one of the most amazing place to experience a harmonious relationship between human beings. So, yes, spiritual aspect here is so big and strong. You often referred to as "Ghana's Bob Marley", no response on this name? For me, Bob Marley is one of the greatest exponents for the music that has a spiritual component and at the same time aspiring ideals to arouse people from various cultures. And that's what I want to do through my music from the beginning. Because for every generation, there must be a musician who was on track, both at the circuit mainstream and sidestream . There should be an artist who wants to use music to inspire people from different cultures and also to create the integration and cross-cultural understanding. That's what I do with my music and it was also performed Bob Marley. I think that's the equation that people see of me and Bob Marley. And is a great honor for me to accept this name, as Bob Marley did it all, from a musical standpoint, correctly. Since when did you start writing songs? I started as a child, around age five years - RollingStone Magazine

"Global Soul With Rickey Minor, Stevie Wonder and Friends"

Music Reviews
Mon., Jul. 25, 2011, 7:13pm PT
Global Soul With Rickey Minor, Stevie Wonder and Friends
(Hollywood Bowl, 17,374 seats, $134 top)

Presented by Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Performers: Stevie Wonder, Rickey Minor, Omara "Bombino" Moctar, The Soul Seekers, Mia Doi Todd, Ceci Bastida, Rocky Dawuni, Charles Bradley, Grace Potter, Janelle Monáe, Sharon Jones, The Tonight Show Band, YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra. Host: Garth Trinidad. Reviewed July 24, 2011.
What is global soul? Rickey Minor, in league with Stevie Wonder and a wildly diverse lineup of nine acts from here, there and everywhere, tried to deal with that question in a big, potentially unwieldy show at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night. Maybe they didn't put a definitive answer on the boards, but it didn't matter, for they patched together a surprisingly unified - and thrilling - concert, a weeklong festival compressed into a space of just over three hours.
Minor solved the immense problem of squeezing in ten acts without disruptive setup delays by bringing along his versatile band from "The Tonight Show" as backup for almost everyone. These guys apparently can play fluidly in any style imaginable - and they did so with an unnervingly quick and precise grasp of each performer's idiom as Minor thumped along on bass. Inevitably, perhaps, a few things had to be dumped - a promised medley from Marvin Gaye's 40-year-old "What's Going On" album was reduced to just "Mercy, Mercy Me" - yet a lot got through.

Ah, but Minor almost didn't reckon with the unpredictable quirks of his headliner. Wonder had the virtually-sold-out Bowl hanging quietly on his every word as he rambled through musical-verbal tributes for two American soul heroes who died young (Jesse Belvin and Sam Cooke), and saluted Ray Charles with a very convincing "What'd I Say." Time management isn't one of Wonder's strengths, though, and thus, his set only had room for one number of his own. But it was a killer: "Superstition," played as funky as only he can on an original Hohner D6 clavinet.

Space, alas, prohibits one from detailing each and every act, but there were some heartwarming breakouts. After decades of hard knocks, 63-year-old soulster Charles Bradley experienced perhaps the greatest moment of his life electrifying the Bowl with "This World (Is Going Up In Flames)" - his raw voice wracked with authentic pain. Rocky Dawuni from Ghana achieved a vocal fusion of King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley; crouching, running, getting the crowd excited.

Grace Potter came on like Tina Turner transformed into a young white girl, a comparison made explicit by "Proud Mary." Angeleno Mia Doi Todd's short set stuck with Brazilian flavors, Niger native Bambino's stinging electric guitar jumped to a hypnotic rattling groove, and Janelle Monáe sang the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" adorably, somehow managing to execute some of her signature dance steps in a small space.

Finally, the kids from the YOLA Orchestra backed Wonder, Minor, and all of their guests in "What's Going On" - a big, joyous, sonically authentic performance bathed in a riot of rainbow-lit color, followed by an equally rocking encore from Stevie, "Higher Ground." In effect, the early-'70s innovators from Motown had the last word on what is global soul, and that's as good as any.

Contact the Variety newsroom at

"Bowled Over: Rocky Dawuni thrills fans at the Hollywood Bowl"

Entertainment / Events / Music
Bowled Over: Rocky Dawuni thrills fans at the Hollywood Bowl
By Samantha Ofole-Prince, CaribPress News-Magazine, Entertainment, 08/01/11
Performing songs from his hit album “Hymns for the Rebel Soul,” Dawuni treated fans to favorites such as “Afroroots Vibration” and “Extraordinary Woman”

A night billed as “KCRW’s Global Soul with Stevie Wonder and Friends,” it brought together Grammy nominee Janelle Monae and reggae superstar Rocky Dawuni, who gave an impassioned performance to a crowd of 18,000 folks at the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Performing songs from his hit album “Hymns for the Rebel Soul,” Dawuni treated fans to favorites such as “Afroroots Vibration” and spoke about the need for action on the famine in Somalia and Ethiopia before jumping into a rendition of “Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley.

With an ecstatic crowd on their feet swaying and singing along, the night featured classic performances Charles Bradley, Mexico’s Ceci Bastida, rocker Grace Porter; all backed by the American Idol/Tonight Show bandleader Rickey Minor.

Stevie Wonder closed out the night with an amazing performance from his classic repertoire before inviting Dawuni and all the featured guests to join him on stage for a final performance of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On” and Stevie’s own “Higher Ground”. - Caribpress


Congratulations to our brother; Los Angeles based Rocky Dawuni who has made us all proud.

Celebrated Ghanaian and international Reggae artist, Rocky Dawuni, has been listed in CNN's ten of the African continent's most famous and much-loved musical exports.Rocky, widely acclaimed as Ghana's Bob Marley, has over the years raised high the flag of Ghana in international circles and has performed to audiences across the world as well as working with music legend, Stevie Wonder.

He has been nominated and won several international awards from his last album, Hymns for the Rebel Soul which was released earlier this year. The awards include, Best African Artist at this year's International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) and NAACP Image Award nomination for “Outstanding World Music Album”. The world acclaimed Ghanaian singer, now based part time in Los Angeles, was featured on CNN's African Voices in September this year.

Rocky Dawuni is the only Ghanaian in the featured list, which is dominated by Nigerian artists. Sensational singer Asa, Nneka and 2Face Idibia make up the Nigerian artists in the list. Other renowned artists who made it to the list includes; Senegal's Youssou N'Dour, Mali's Salif Keita and Somali-born rapper K'naan who shot into international fame with his 2006 album, Dusty Foot Philosopher. Amadou et Mariam, duo from Mali also considered one of the continent's biggest artists. The duo, since meeting at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind in the 1970s, has received international recognition for their musical diversity.

Grammy award-winning singer, the late Cesaria Evora, the most famous musical export from the Cape Verde Islands and South African choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo completes the list.

*Story courtesy of Joy FM, Ghana

Highlife Today's-list-of-africa's-ten-biggest-artistes/

Campus Heat


Nigeria Films .com - MODERNGHANA.COM

"'Ghana's Bob Marley' spreads message of brotherhood"

Every week CNN International's African Voices highlights Africa's most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who rarely open themselves up to the camera.

(CNN) -- Dubbed "Ghana's Bob Marley," reggae sensation Rocky Dawuni is known not only for bringing his upbeat vibe to audiences across the world, but also for promoting social issues through his extensive humanitarian work.

The acclaimed singer-songwriter first fell in love with reggae at a young age when he heard a Ghanaian military band play a Bob Marley song.

He was instantly hooked. "I remember totally being drawn to the words and also the message and the intentions of the music," he told CNN's Isha Sesay.

But perhaps his most impressive feat so far has been the creation of the Independence Splash festival in Ghana, an annual event that attracts thousands of music lovers and also raises awareness for a series of social causes, including provision of clean water and education for girls.

An edited version of the interview follows.

CNN: Can you describe the first time you ever heard reggae and the feeling it created in you?

Rocky Dawuni: The first time I heard reggae music was (in) Michel Camp, which is a military barracks in Ghana where I was born.

There was a military band called Hot Barrels which used to ... do covers. I was interested in music, so every time I used to hang out at their rehearsal. And then one time, they started playing covers, Bob Marley, and I remember totally being drawn to the words and also the message and the intentions of the music.

It was really love at first sight. And since then I also realized that my calling too was in that direction, using music as that tool to articulate all that I see around me.

CNN: When did you first realize you could sing?

RD: Right from the onset, because our environment in Africa, everything is music. When a child is born, everybody's singing, when there's celebration, everybody's singing. So at that time, I just joined in everywhere and I realized that I could ... make up melodies, I was like, this could be an interesting path for me. Then I started growing in my confidence, I started researching about it and then it just took off from there.

CNN: You grew up being motivated by spreading a message -- how was that received as you were playing your first concerts?

RD: The thing that I believe about messages is that you have to understand that the message is always higher than the messenger. So you always have to put the message in such a way that you don't become preachy, because we're all on this journey together, everybody who's part of this human family.

Me having that platform doesn't mean that it makes me a person that can be able to point people in the right direction -- I just open options and I create the environment, and that environment creates dialogue. And it's just like, when we start talking amongst each other, we'll figure it out. So I believe in the subtlety of the message.

CNN: Which is more important to you, critical acclaim or commercial success?

RD: All of it has its place, but in the long run, my intention ... is that I want the music to be in the hands of everybody, so I don't look at it more as a commercial thing, I look at it in terms of the message and the communication.

I want everybody to experience what I have experienced, I want to communicate with everybody. I want everybody to feel and understand what message I'm trying to carry across.

I want everybody to be part of this new brotherhood of all of us. I call it the brotherhood of all of us because everybody is part of it. It doesn't matter what your background is, what's your religion, what's your cultural background, what's your gender. It doesn't matter. We are all together in this world. We are sharing the same space, we are breathing the same air.

CNN: Every year you put on a concert called the Rocky Dawuni Independence Splash, talk to me about it.

RD: Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to be independent. So I realized that Ghana's independence day, its importance was not only a matter of celebrating the day, its importance was that this day could be a day we could use to reflect on where Africa is. And right now ... Ghana has really taken the leadership role when it comes to having democratic institutions, stability and even economically.

So Ghana has really been able to do all things that I feel ... we need to share with the rest of Africa as we were the first independent country. So I felt that the concert was a means to start this celebration whereby all Africa comes and in doing so, there's the music and there's also all the dimensions of us interacting with each other.

So every year, no matter where I am, I go back and then have this event and then also I started using it for social causes.

We've worked on everything from water issues to girl child education issues, to hand washing, sanitation issues, HIV/AIDS.

For me, I feel that my talent, whatever God has given me, my abilities that God has given me, is for me to utilize for that purpose. -


Ghana's international music star Rocky Dawuni has been nominated by the International Reggae and World Music Awards for Best Album and Best African Entertainer, to be held in Trinidad on May 28.

The Ghanaian Reggae Legend who has been referred by many as Africa's Bob Marley leveraged his popularity within and without of the Continent to champion social causes and inspire a generation of artists and fans alike. It therefore came as no surprise when under the auspices of UNICEF, the Ghanaian reggae artist Rocky Dawuni (left) joined the head of the European Commission delegation, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, and UNICEF Representative Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque on a two-day visit to northern Ghana to help educate the public on Guinea Worm the past few yearsd .

Dawuni's eloquence as well as his successful melding of musical celebrity and social action has made him a spokesperson for various causes worldwide. Over the last few years, Rocky's music and electric live performances have attracted thousands to his concerts. Superstars such as Stevie Wonder and Peter Gabriel have joined him on stage at his shows to tremendous response.

Rocky's 5th studio album, “Hymns for the Rebel Soul” was pre-released through Whole Foods Market in the United States and was officially released on May 25, 2010 by Aquarian Records. Rock Paper Scissors, Giant Step and the Sanford Company have all gotten behind the title which has been charting heavily on CMJ. The new 11 song album was inspired and written over the course of his travels around the world particularly Israel, Finland, Jamaica, U.S. and Ghana in his quest to articulate and craft a record that reflected the common spiritual, political and social aspirations of ordinary folks around the world. With the songs written, the main tracking and recording took place in Los Angeles during the transformative period of the 2008 U.S. presidential election and concluded on inauguration day. Rocky sees this album as a musical exploration in global consciousness.

Video Game Giant EA (Electronic Arts) has licensed the first track off the album “Download the Revolution” from their FIFA Soccer 2010 video game which has sold millions of copies already. EA has also licensed “African Reggae Fever” for their FIFA World Cup 2010 video game which was released in May 2010. (Two tracks from his previous recording Book of Changes were also featured on EA's FIFA 2008 and Simms video games.) “African Soccer Fever” a remix of his “African Reggae Fever” song became one of the main songs of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Africa and the world officially have “African Soccer Fever!!”

In the US, Dawuni's progressive fusion of Reggae, Soul and traditional African sounds, have been making steady inroads in the entertainment industry. He can be seen/heard alongside Bono from U2 in the video and song remake of Bob Marley's “War /No more Trouble” for the highly successful “Playing for Change: Songs Around the World” album which was released by Concord Music in April 2009 and has sold over 300,000 copies. Rocky Dawuni is also featured with other global stars on “Tribute to a Reggae Legend” with his genre bending rendition of “Sun is Shining” by Bob Marley was released by Putumayo Records in July!

Rocky has received extensive airplay on flagship stations like KCRW as well as prominent exposure on hit TV shows like Weeds, ER and Dexter. Rocky recently signed a co-publishing and administration deal with Lionsgate Music which should insure even more exposure for his music worldwide through film, television and commercials. His voice can also be heard on the theme song for “The Goode Family” on primetime ABC Television. Rocky's rendition of John Lennon's “Well Well Well” was featured on the highly successful Deluxe edition of Instant Karma: Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. The Warner Brothers release featured global stars including Black Eyed Peas, Jack Johnson, Christina Aguillera, U2 and more.

Dawuni is creator and headliner of his annual music festival “Rocky Dawuni Independence Splash” held every March 6th in his native Ghana which is produced by his NGO Africa Live! The annual event in Ghana attracts upwards of 30,000 people every year and has become the rallying point for his extensive humanitarian and advocacy work on clean water, HIV AIDS, poverty eradication and girl child education issues.

Dawuni has made several extensive trips throughout Northern Ghana in conjunction with UNICEF & the Carter Center, helping to shed light on the acute water / sanitation problems and helping to spur practical and sustainable solutions reflective of his ongoing quest to use music as a tool for social development. Rocky has served as a personality for Product (RED) led by U2's front man Bono and Bobby Shriver supporting The Global Fund's initiatives on HIV/ AIDs in Africa. Rocky has big plans for the 2011 event which will take place at the Tamale Sports Stadium with special guests on March 19, 2011!!

The Ghanaian star is scheduled to perform alongside the legendary Stevie Wonder with special guest Jaenelle Monae , backed by Ricky Minor at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 24th, 2011.

Rocky is also the brainchild of Los Angeles' world renown Thursday night club, Afro Funke', which has been the premier African based night in Los Angeles for over 7 years. Afro Funke' is frequented by an extremely diverse clientele of all ethnicities and ages who are drawn to the incredible music and ambiance of the night. His presence there also draws a cross section of celebrities who enjoy soaking in the vibes with him including Prince, India.Arie, Stevie Wonder, Reverend Michael Beckwith (The Secret) and many more.

2010 began with Rocky headlining the “Journey of the Spirit Festival” (Sponsored by the Vatican) in Rome, Italy which was an unprecedented success! Rocky then headed to Ghana to launch “Hymns for the Rebel Soul” in his homeland with a radio and press tour throughout the regions and a huge album launch at Citizen Kofi in late March.

Rocky followed that up with an official “Hymns” listening party at Afro Funke' in late May with a full release party with live show in at The Waterfront Theatre in Los Angeles in late June. Rocky spent the summer of 2010 on a European festival tour with shows in Germany, Austria, Finland, France, the UK and beyond.

Rocky returned to the US in early September 2010 and was a guest on, he then performed live at the Levitt Pavilion in Los Angeles' Macarthur Park for thousands and followed that up with a live performance on international tastemaker radio station KCRW 89.9FM with Jason Bentley on “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on Wed Sept 8.

Rocky was recently invited to do a special live performance at the 18,000 strong “We Day” event in Toronto, Canada alongside Somalian superstar K'Naan at the Air Canada Center on September 30, 2010 for Free The Children. He next appeared at the brand new Hawaii Spirit Music Festival on the north shore of Oahu and then at the Freedom Awards with international super star, Jason Mraz in Los Angeles followed by the huge LA YOGA event with Rocky Dawuni headlining and other guests including the Luminaries!

Rocky Dawuni, has been riding on the wave of his acclaimed new album “Hymns for the Rebel Soul” released last year while traveling and performing throughout the world. The album was recently nominated for a prestigious NAACP Image Award in the United States for “Outstanding World Music Album” alongside luminaries Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Angelique Kidjo and Michael Franti.

Hymns was also just nominated by the International Reggae and World Music Awards (to be held in Trinidad May 28, 2011) for “Best Music Album” and Rocky himself is nominated for “Best African Artist.” Rocky “African Reggae Fever” from Hymns was just nominated for “Best Reggae Song” for the upcoming Ghana Music Awards! This spring and summer will see Rocky back touring in the United States and Europe including a very excited scheduled appearance with the legendary Stevie Wonder at the prestigious Hollywood Bowl on July 24, 2011 as part of KCRW's “Global Soul” event.

The long list of achievements thus suggests that Ghana's Tourism Ambassador and one time NAACP Image Award Nominee Rocky Dawuni has definitely carved a niche for himself.

The Ghanaian star is scheduled to perform alongside the legendary Stevie Wonder with special guest Jaenelle Monae, backed by Ricky Minor at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 24th, 2011.

Once again, Ghana is going to be heard all over as Rocky puts her on the world music map with two nominations under his sleeves.

"ROCKY DAWUNI wins "Best African Artist" Award at International Reggae & World Music Awards 2011!!"

Ghana's International Reggae star and Tourism Ambassador Rocky Dawuni won the "Best African Artist" award at the 30th Annual International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA)
held in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Saturday May 28th, 2011. Dawuni was nominated in this category with other African stars including King Sunny Ade, K'Naan, Angelique Kidjo and 2Face Idibia.
Rocky was also nominated in the "Best Album" category for his new hit album "Hymns for the Rebel Soul." Rocky, who was recently appointed to the Board of Advisors of the Jammin Java Corporation,
home of the world famous Marley Coffee, was also nominated for "Best World Music Album" by the prestigious NAACP Image Awards as well for "Best Reggae Song" for the Ghana Music Awards.

The star studded event organized by Martin's International, was attended by a who's who of the Carribean and world music communities as well as a cross sectionof global press. Dawuni performed
his classic song "Extraordinary Woman" from "Hymns for the Rebel Soul" with the legendary Dean Fraser on saxophone and then closed the show with a rousing performance of Bob Marley's classic song
"One Love " with an all star cast including Shaggy, Taurus Riley, Machel Montano, Gramps Morgan and Tony Rebel.

"Winning the Best African Artist Award is a great honor for me in terms of a broader recognition for my music. At the same time, it also brings me renewed inspiration and serves as a catalyst for
me to aspire to break new musical boundaries." Rocky Dawuni

Prior to the show the Ghanaian Music star was granted an audience at the Parliament of the Government of Trinidad & Tobago where he met with the Foreign Minister of Trinidad,
Dr. Surujrathan Rambachan and the Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Mr. Winston Peters to discuss cultural relations between Ghana and Trinidad.

Please check out for forthcoming Rocky Dawuni summer dates in the US and Europe including the much anticipated KCRW "Global Soul" event at the Hollywood Bowl concert
with Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae and Sharon Jones on July 24th, 2011.

Related Websites:,140154.html—photos - Allafia (via Facebook)

"‘Clean Water’ song hits Ghana’s airwaves on World Water Day"

ACCRA, Ghana, 22 March 2007 – In a fitting contribution to World Water Day – designed to draw attention to the water crisis affecting children and families across the globe – two of Ghana’s most popular musicians have released ‘Clean Water’, a brand new track that urges communities to consume safe water.

Rocky Dawuni and Samini (formerly known as ‘Batman’) produced the song in collaboration with UNICEF, on the heels of a three-day field trip to the Northern Region of Ghana last month. Joined by other local musicians, the two rising stars visited a number of communities that struggle with severe shortages of safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.

Through word and song, the musicians appealed to chiefs, elders and community members to boil or filter their water before consuming it, to drink water from protected sources and to practice safe and proper hygiene.

The track ‘Clean Water’ uses an infectious rhythmic beat and striking vocals to reinforce key messages that UNICEF and partners emphasize in their work to educate communities on the dangers of consuming contaminated water. The song hits local radio airwaves today, where it could begin to have a far-reaching impact across Ghana.

Preventive steps save lives

The consumption of unsafe water in Ghana, along with poor sanitation and hygiene practices, continue to result in diarrhoea, worm infestation and other water and sanitation-related diseases, which can lead to death and disability. Children are usually the first to get sick and die from these diseases.

© UNICEF/2007/Hickling
Rocky Dawuni addresses members of the Gburimani community.
Diarrhoea is responsible for 18 per cent of all deaths of children under the age of five in Ghana – some 15,000 children whose lives could be saved by simple preventive steps such as washing hands with soap. Guinea worm, largely attributable to drinking unsafe water, continues to plague the country – Ghana is the second most Guinea worm-endemic country in the world, next only to war-torn Sudan.

Over 30 per cent of the rural population in Ghana does not have access to safe drinking water. Nationally, 22 per cent of the population still lack access to safe water.

Interventions in rural communities

UNICEF and its partners have focused their interventions in the rural and remote communities in the north of Ghana, where the water, sanitation and hygiene problems are most acute. These efforts include:

Installation and repair of boreholes and other systems to provide safe water supply
Provision of latrines and hand-washing facilities
Training of community health workers in hygiene promotion and in the early detection, treatment and reporting of Guinea worm cases.
To bolster these interventions, hygiene and sanitation education aimed at changing behaviour is continuously undertaken in affected schools and communities. - UNICEF

"Ghana Appoints Rocky Dawuni as Tourism Ambassador"

Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Akua Sena Densua, praised the Ghanaian artist for his continuing positive projection of Ghana in his concerts.

Rocky Dawuni. Photo Courtesy of Royalty Image
The Ministry of Tourism has appointed Ghanaian music star and NAACP Image Award Nominee Rocky Dawuni as Ghana’s Tourism Ambassador.
In a letter of appointment to Dawuni, Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Akua Sena Densua, praised the Ghanaian artist for his excellent achievements in music both home and abroad and his continuing positive projection of Ghana in his concerts.

The ceremonial appointment which comes with no financial entitlement took effect on 11th April.

In accepting this new role Dawuni stated “The arts, especially music can not only bring tourists to Ghana, but create an appreciation for the rich Ghanaian culture outside of Ghana. I am prepared to do my utmost to broadly portray Ghana and its rich heritage through my music, concerts, humanitarian work and appearances worldwide.”

Dawuni’s current album ‘Hymns For the Rebel Soul’ was nominated for a prestigious NAACP Image Award for ‘Outstanding World Music Album’ as well as in the ‘Best Album’ and ‘Best African Artist’ categories at the forthcoming International Reggae & World Music Awards to be held in Trinidad on May 28th.

His collaboration with Bono on Bob Marley’s ‘War, No More Trouble’ and with Blues legend Keb Mo on Peter Gabriel’s ‘Biko’ were both featured on ‘Playing For Change – Songs Around the World,’ a Billboard Top 20 Album of 2009. He was also recently appointed to the Board of Advisers of the Jammin Java Corporation, home of the world famous Marley Coffee.

Dawuni will perform alongside Stevie Wonder at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 24. - Carib Press

"Rocky Dawuni Appointed World Music Ambassador for MUSICA"

“It’s an exciting time for Ghana as there is a renewed consensus to transcend every division towards a common national destiny.” Dawuni stated.

Rocky (left) with Jerry Rawlings former Ghanaian President
International Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni was recently in his home country of Ghana to discuss a broad range of issues with Ghana’s top leaders, and was appointed the World Music Ambassador for MUSIGA (Musician’s Union of Ghana).

The celebrated Ghanaian musician, who was recently the focus of CNN’s African Voices celebrated program, was in Ghana’s capital, Accra during a break in touring and met with the Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, former Presidents of Ghana; Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kuffuor.

The award winning artist, who is also Ghana’s Tourism Ambassador, met Vice President John Mahama at his office in Christianborg Castle, where they touched on the state of music in Ghana. Dawuni was commended on his continuing positive projection of Ghana on the global stage.

His meeting with the former President Rawlings focused on the importance of engaging African musicians and artists across the continent to on issues facing Africa, especially the famine in the Horn of Africa. President Rawlings, who’s currently the African Union (AU) High Representative for Somalia and the Horn of Africa, expressed his appreciation at the opportunity to collaborate on bringing more attention on the devastating humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia and other parts of East Africa.

While in Ghana, Dawuni also met with the new Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Li to discuss cultural relations between the two countries and attended the “Founders Day Celebration” honoring Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah. The Founders Day event was also attended by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, Vice President John Mahama, MP and daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, Samia Nkrumah,and former President Kufour.

“It’s an exciting time for Ghana as there is a renewed consensus to transcend every division towards a common national destiny.” Dawuni stated. - Carib Press

"Rocky Dawuni Meets Ghanaian Leaders"

International Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni was recently in his home country of Ghana to hold a series of meetings to discuss a broad range of issues with Ghana’s top leaders.

Dawuni met with the Vice President of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, and former Presidents of Ghana; His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings and His Excellency John Agyekum Kuffuor. The celebrated Ghanaian musician, who was recently the focus of CNN’s African Voices celebrated program, was in Ghana’s capital, Accra during a break in touring.

Dawuni met Vice President John Mahama at his office in Christianborg Castle where they touched on the state of music in Ghana. The Vice President commended Dawuni on his continuing positive projection of Ghana on the global stage and expressed his desire to support the growth of Ghana’s music scene.

Dawuni’s meeting with the former President Rawlings focused on the importance of engaging African musicians and artists across the continent to on issues facing Africa, especially the famine in the Horn of Africa. President Rawlings, who’s currently the African Union (AU) High Representative for Somalia and the Horn of Africa, expressed his appreciation at the opportunity to collaborate on bringing more attention on the devastating humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia and other parts of East Africa.

Former President John Kuffour focused more on their mutual interest in protecting the environment while commending the Ghanaian musician for his musical achievements. Dawuni discussed his forth-coming initiative which will focus mainly on a nationwide tree planting campaign in which President Kuffour pledged to support.

While in Ghana, Dawuni also met with the new Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Li to discuss cultural relations between the two countries and attended the “Founders Day Celebration” honouring Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah. The Founders Day event was also attended by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, Vice President John Mahama, MP and daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, Samia Nkrumah and former President Kufuor.

“It’s an exciting time for Ghana as there is a renewed consensus to transcend every division towards a common national destiny.” Dawuni stated.

During his stay in the capital, the award winning artist who is also Ghana’s Tourism Ambassador was also appointed “World Music Ambassador for MUSIGA (Musician’s Union of Ghana).” -

"Rocky Dawuni Brings Relevant Roots Reggae All the Way from Ghana"

On his latest album Hymns for the Rebel Soul, Ghanian roots reggae superstar Rocky Dawuni takes a fearless political stance, Peter Tosh defiance matched to a musical backdrop that falls closer to intricate, purist late-period Bob Marley soul than Luciano slickness. Like those two Wailers, Dawuni is an excellent lyricist, and his tunes push a lot further than simple two or three-chord one-drop vamps. The songs are long, clocking in at five or six minutes at a clip – Burning Spear length, tailor-made to keep a big stadium swaying all afternoon.

The opening track, Download the Revolution begins with the sound of a dialup connection (that’s how they do it in the third world). With its oscillating synths, it’s a vivid reminder that at least for now, the internet has the potential to “wipe away the music of pollution,” as Dawuni so aptly puts it. The metaphorically charged African Reggae Fever is warm and unselfconsciously catchy like something off the Kaya album, a contrast with the offhand menace of the lyric: “Music for the radio don’t take the youth no higher…where you gonna run, where you gonna hide when the music comes for you?” Walls Come Tumbling Down is a matter-of-factly optimistic tribute to persistence – let’s not forget that this guy comes from a part of the world where those who protest a fraudulent election are literally risking their lives.

Elsewhere, a flute rises playfully in tribute to “surviving the Master Plan.” The wickedly catchy Road to Destiny celebrates the exile’s life, a search for justice – as much as that struggle can be celebrated, anyway. On Freefall, Dawuni angrily evokes the old soul adage about how “those you meet on the way up are the ones you meet on your way back down.” A mighty, majestic anthem, Jerusalem comes across as sort of a cross between Burning Spear and the late, great Lucky Dube. The album winds up with a big Marleyesque ballad and a stripped-down acoustic number. Modern-day roots reggae doesn’t get any better than this. - Lucid Culture

"Rocky Dawuni Unites Ghanaian Roots with Global Soul"

Rocky Dawuni walks the talk. Fist held high and dreadlocks flowing, the Ghanaian reggae artist is a rebel among rebels, tackling serious social issues with uplifting ballads and reggae rockers. All while working to challenge everything from infectious diseases to clean water to poverty across the rural communities of his homeland.

On Hymns for the Rebel Soul, Dawuni’s infectious, groove-driven music refuses to play by the rules. He sings about the struggles against corruption, war, and despair, drawing on his own experiences while melding bluesy Motown horn lines with Afro-beat grooves and Arabic percussion. Add highlife afro-pop guitar mingled with polyrhythms and Scandinavian melodies and Dawuni re-imagines a fearlessly global, one-love reggae with contemporary African ingenuity.

Let’s rewind a few decades to where Dawuni’s instinct to innovate emerged in the middle of an army camp under a military government. Under a dimly lit African sky, Bob Marley’s iconic “Uprising” album blares from P.A. speakers at an outdoor bar crowded with soldiers; a little boy takes note of the politically charged lyrics and a rebel is born.

As music entwined with his passion for speaking truth to questionable power, he “went pro,” he says, as a young psychology student at the University of Ghana. “My first band was an accident,” he laughs. “In my first year, I met these four guys who were students there and musicians. Everyone was saying, ‘Why are we in the University if we want to be musicians? Why don’t we form a band?’” And the seeds were planted.

In the late 1990s he took the plunge, and soon Dawuni found himself traveling the world – ultimately releasing multiple CDs and working with musicians like Bono and Stevie Wonder, as well as providing music for U.S. television shows including Weeds, ER and Dexter.

Dawuni has always attempted to compose music that reflected what he calls “global consciousness,” a sense of shared destiny that transcends nationality. Hymns distills this vision, juxtaposing sonic influences from his many recent journeys. “Jerusalem” was written and recorded in Tel Aviv. Over a lilting guitar-based groove that uses a Middle Eastern harmonic sense, an Arabic dumbek rhythm punctuates Dawuni’s lyrics; he speaks of the historic significance of Israel, as well as its impact on his own spirituality.

“Take it Slow (Love Love Love)” was conceptualized and composed during his tour with a group of Finnish pop stars. Incorporating Scandinavian sensibilities, the song features thick vocal harmonies and an unexpected touch for a reggae track: a Finnish folk flute.

Despite Dawuni’s jet-setting and genre-bending ways, his songs speak powerfully to local issues in Ghana. Dawuni aims to change minds about everything from educating young women to accepting people living with HIV, using both pop and traditional music to critique and to inspire.

“First, I am Ghanaian,” Dawuni explains. “I harness local elements into a whole organic form, while the arrangements overall use a contemporary global palette.” While “Walls Tumblin’ Down” is a nod to the old palm-wine acoustic guitar style, the root of highlife music in Ghana, his voice floats over a lush layer of strings and bluesy background vocals.

While singing about the struggles of the everyman, Dawuni “walks the talk.” Many reggae musicians spread the good vibes of peace and love through their music, yet few put their money and time towards real efforts on the ground. Dawuni’s intention has always been to use his music as a primary tool for social change. “I have always used my concerts as a platform to engage social issues,” he says, “and not only as a spokesperson. I personally organize local musicians to work with communities and help them find sustainable solutions to problems on the ground.”

In addition to working with celebrities like Elle MacPherson on behalf of African causes, Dawuni has joined with UNICEF, the Carter Center, and Product (RED) to make a lasting push to stem poverty and quell the spread of HIV/AIDS. “I met some people living with HIV in Ghana,” he recalls, “and they told me that my involvement has gone a long way in helping to reduce stigmatization, encouraging more compassionate responses to the disease. They said they could feel a sea change. This just confirmed my commitment.” - World Music News Wire


New York (September 26, 2012)

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves celebrated its two-year anniversary Monday with a host of announcements that combined are instrumental toward accomplishing its mission to create a global market for clean, safe, and efficient cooking technologies.

Ghanaian international music star and creative activist, Rocky Dawuni, was named the newest member of the Alliance’s Ambassadors, which include Academy Award-winning actor Julia Roberts and Chef Jose Andres.

“As a musician, I know how to use my voice and my heart to connect with people, and when I learned that cooking kills two million people worldwide every year, I knew I had to stand up and speak out to help the Alliance raise awareness,” said Dawuni before a room of hundreds of Alliance partners and other guests. “In my native Ghana, throughout Africa, and around the world, it’s clear that the time for clean cookstoves and fuels is now, and I’m ready to do my part to assist the Alliance in reaching its goal.”

In introducing Dawuni, Alliance Executive Director Radha Muthiah noted his lifetime pursuits of social justice and gender equality made him a true asset as an Alliance Ambassador.

At the event, world leaders from civil society, the private sector, and the philanthropic community as well as research pioneers and government representatives came together during the UN General Assembly to discuss the multiple facets of the household air pollution issue, which impacts three billion people daily, and to make major new announcements on behalf of the Alliance, its partners, and the sector.

The Alliance also released its second-year report, which details progress in the areas of market development, research, outreach, standards and testing, and more since it’s launch by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at The Clinton Global Initiative in 2010.


The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance’s 100 by ‘20 goal calls for 100 million households to adopt clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The Alliance is working with its public, private and non-profit partners to help overcome the market barriers that currently impede the production, deployment, and use of clean cookstoves in developing countries. For more information, please visit

Rocky Dawuni’s eloquence as well as his successful melding of musical celebrity and social action has made him a spokesperson for various causes worldwide. Over the last few years, his music and electric live performances have attracted thousands to his concerts. Rocky’s upcoming new album, “Afro Roots,” fully captures his unique fusion of Afro Beat and Reggae while confirming him as an artist in the tradition of both Fela Kuti and Bob Marley in utilizing his music to uplift, unify and inspire. - CLEANCOOKSTOVES.ORG

"Global Beat Fusion: Nubian Sounds, African Reggae and Durham Hip-Hop"

Rocky Dawuni's sonic meanderings began listening to Bob Marley lyrics inside of an army camp run by Ghana's military government. Like Fela Kuti, he attended college to study one thing (psychology; Kuti was medicine), and left heading up a band. His influence has been widespread, working with Bono and Stevie Wonder while being featured in popular American television shows. One of the rare African reggae artists to break through to broad audiences, such a stature is no surprise given Dawuni's silky voice and approachable riddims. Upbeat, melodic, catchy, the man is endowed with lover's rock sensibilities and socially conscious criticisms. His latest, Hymns for the Rebel Soul (Aquarian), easily covers both categories in the best ways possible.

Listening to Dawuni is like hearing a fine Luciano record, its pop format colored by enough individuality and personality to make it his own. Moments of Gregory Isaacs emerge ("Extraordinary Woman"), while roots are aplenty on the sparse guitars of "Walls Tumbling Down" and the beautiful political message of "Jerusalem." Perhaps the best song includes the most far-reaching inspiration: Finnish melodies. It was on tour with a Scandinavian band that the gorgeous hook of "Take it Slow (Love Love Love)" appeared in his head. He recorded the simple acoustic song, featuring finger snaps and a great chorus and put it at the album's end. A great way to say "later"--not to mention Dawuni's finest track to date.
- Huffington Post, CD Review 05/05/10

"Rocky Dawuni & The Revelation Project"

Rocky Dawuni & the Revelation Project at Zanzibar.

Few artists in town have a more positive spiritual attitude than Rocky Dawuni. Whether performing his self-described “Afro-roots” sound with the Revelation Project or hosting the weekly Afro Funké joint Thursday nights at Zanzibar, the Ghanaian-born Dawuni deeply, truly believes in the power of music to effect progressive change in the world. He’s been steadily building on the reggae-centric foundations of his first three albums, developing syncretic sonic structures inspired by the traditional and pop musics of Ghana and its West African neighbors, as well as hip-hop’s neo-griotisms and classic soul. Dawuni’s evolving universalist vision comes into focus on the soon-to-be-released Book of Changes. DJ Drez’s turntables, Boujou Sissoko’s kora and Saul Williams’ spoken word jack in ancient-future styles on the title track, while “Wake the Town” sustains a slow Afro-funk simmer, and “Someone To Blame” binds reggae bounce and old-school Gold Coast groove. Dawuni returns home soon to play the annual Independence Splash concert in Accra, so this show will be the last local chance for a while to catch his incandescent Afro-roots dance party. Tom Cheyney - LA Weekly January 27, 2005

"Buzz Clubs"

”In the wonders-never-cease category, legendary soul man Stevie Wonder got up and performed with Rocky Dawuni at a recent Afro Funké night at the Santa Monica club Zanzibar. Turns out Wonder's a huge fan of Dawuni, a Ghanaian Afro-roots superstar.” Heidi Siegmund Cuda - Los Angeles Times November 25, 2005

"Rocky Dawuni Press Links & Quotes" - Press Junkie PR

"Funk-Tastic Afro Beats & Big Name Surprises at Zanzibar"

“The dance crowd was humbled and amazed when chart-topping soul sensation Stevie Wonder popped in for a special surprise appearance on November 11th at the weekly club Afro Funke, held on Thursdays at Zanzibar, 1301 Fifth St., Santa Monica. During Wonder's surprise appearance, he wailed on harmonica and led the "call and response" vocal gymnastics on African roots/reggae star Rocky Dawuni's Afro-groove track, "Wake the Town," according to Zanzibar promoter Cary Sullivan.” Rahne Pistor - The Argonat November 25, 2004

"Emerging Music"

"Garth Trinidad of KCRW's Chocolate City has been playing Rocky's latest single. Garth says, "Rocky's latest offering is refreshingly evolved black music, a rarely found oasis amidst today's sprawling desert of anti-artistic sound tracks to Sodom and Gomorrah." Mike Sonksen - 562 News November 2003 & Jointz Magazine April 2004

"Rocky Dawuni"

Rocky Dawuni is set to set to catch the United States and Africa on fire with reggae music, the catalyst for a much needed revolution, according to this musical soldier. Originally from Ghana, his voice and spirit has been likened to Marley, Nkrumah and other great Africans dedicated to the liberation of the Africans at home and in the Diaspora. Rocky Dawuni's eloquence and spirit of service has made him a true king in this time. Africans and those who love Africa will rejoice that this son has found his calling." - February 2003

"Rocky Dawuni & The Revelation Project"

"Don't miss Rocky Dawuni, Ghana's number 1 roots reggae artist and a Marley disciple whose work both echoes and updates Marley's Rasta-consciousness reggae." Richard Harrington - Pick of the Week, Washington Post February 7, 2003

"Pick of the Week"

"With a large and fervent following in Ghana, solid songs, positive messages and engaging stage presence, this talented artist is now primed to conquer America."
CC Smith - LA Weekly August 17, 2001

"Ghana's Rocky Dawuni"

"Ghanaian reggae singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni has excited American audiences with his live 'Roots Hop Reggae" adding a hip-hop style deejay to his energetic live set. With the good press from pundits in Britain, the Caribbean and the USA, he could well join the ranks of the few internationally recognized reggae stars from Africa - Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy and Majek Fasek." Kwaku - Gargamel, December 2000


"Rocky Dawuni, a dynamic, personable singer/songwriter from Ghana, who won audiences over with his strongly spiritual, rootsy African reggae sound and onstage charisma." Silja Talvi -, July 2000

"African Artists at the GRAMMYY's"

The 2016 Grammy nominations have been announced and a few of our favorite artists have made the cut.

Renowned Beninese singer and activist, Angélique Kidjo, is once again nominated in the “Best World Music” category for her album Sings. Kidjo took home the award last year–with an exceptionally graceful speech—for her album EVE and also in 2008 for Djin Djin.

South African all-male chorus Ladysmith Black Mambazo are also contenders for the “Best World Music” award for their album Music From Inala. This is the group’s 16th nomination in a career that has spanned over 50 years. Their most recent win was in 2013 when they received the award for their album Live: Singing For Peace Around The World. The Zomba Prison Project, an album conceived of by American writer and producer Ian Brennan (Tinerwan, TV On The Radio) and comprised of recordings by prisoners at the Zomba Central Prison located at the border of Malawi and Mozambique, is also nominated in the category.

Though we’re excited for the nominees, we’re still side-eyeing The Grammys’ continued use of ‘World Music’ as an all-encompassing tag for all non-Western music of blatantly different genres. One in which, this year, Kidjo and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are placed in the same category as Gilberto Gil’s samba album and Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.

However, African artists have been nominated in other categories as well. Rocky Dawuni becomes the first Ghanaian to be nominated for “Best Reggae Album” for his latest project Branches of the Same Tree. The “African Thriller” singer expressed his elation about the monumental nomination to Accra’s Starr 103.5FM radio station, “it’s a good day for Ghana and Ghanaian music” exclaimed the musician.

Nigerian-American singer Jidenna, earned his first-ever nomination for his hit single “Classic Man.” The song is up against records by Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Common and others for the title of “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.”

Check out some of the nominated songs and albums below and tune in on February 15 to see which of Africa’s star musicians take home golden gramophones at the 2016 Grammys.

Update, 12/8/15: South African artist Wouter Kellerman‘s Love Language is also nominated, he’s in the running for “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.” Also, as Loyiso mentions on our Facebook, South African gospel artist Neville Diedericks is nominated for “Best Gospel Performance/Song” for his part in Israel & New Breed’s “How Awesome Is Our God (Live).” - OkayAfrica

"Ghana-born, L.A.-based singer Rocky Dawuni spreads his positive message through Afro-roots music"

An unusual Southern California overcast day, clouds pregnant with a much-needed rain blanket the Pacific Ocean. Though, muttering “April Showers bring May flowers” to anyone in the City of Angels will get you nowhere. In the lobby lounge of the swank Casa del Mar Hotel, I stick to my sunny-ass demeanor and get lucky enough to catch up with Afro-roots international star, Rocky Dawuni, fresh back from South by Southwest.

A few things about this man. Rocky’s full-on Rasta. You feel it when you meet him. His dreads shroud him like a lion’s mane. His music and his spirit intertwine like the DNA in his blood. Music may be his ultimate external expression, but something internal writhes, a melodic river of sweet passion for the uplifting of humanity, not unlike Bob Marley before him.

Rocky’s sixth and most recent album, Branches of the Same Tree, has just been released through the accomplished world-music label Cumbancha. The CD is accompanied with a beautifully designed booklet depicting gorgeous images from Ghana. The album’s eleven songs weave together New Orleans funk, reggae, samba, gospel, and highlife and remind me of a very good mole sauce—somehow, deep, rich flavors manage to hold subtlety and edge and deliver all the same.

This record comprises great Jamaican, American, and African musicians marrying those familiar grooves of Fela and Marley into a contemporary Afro-roots classic. Drummer Manas Itiene (Michael Franti and Spearhead), percussionist Leon Mobley (Ben Harper, Damian Marley), bassist Ronnie McQueen (Steel Pulse), and many others all perform on the album, and we feel their musicianship reverberate. The impressive and seemingly disparate range of sounds move between edges of a spectrum, like the melodious Rocky singing over ukulele on “Butterfly,” a Bob Marley and the Wailers song, to the heavy, Fela-like “African Thriller,” a nod to Ali–Foreman and the Rumble in the Jungle. There’s also a nice cover of the Marley and Peter Tosh–penned classic “Get Up, Stand Up.” Rocky brings us back to Africa and we listen.

We begin the begin. Rocky has a smile that warms the heart and puts me, or anyone for that matter, at immediate ease. He orders a pot of black coffee and we hit it.

Welcome back to sunny Santa Monica. I heard you did some cool things in Austin.

[laughs, speaks in his Ghanaian pidgin lilt] Really, really an incredible experience. I was there for several [reasons]. First of all, apart from going to go showcase the new album, I was also on the panel for social good that the Clinton Global Initiative and U.N. foundation had put together, so I had the opportunity to serve on the panel and also do an acoustic show afterwards.

Oh, very nice.

And then post that, I did a show at the Quantum Collective [Southwest] Invasion concert that was out on the rooftop of Whole Foods. They also had the Zombies perform, so it was a bit alternative. [laughs] But the opportunity for me as a musician who plays world music, reggae—my music is kind of alternative when you think about it. So yeah, it was really cool to be a part of that.

It just seems like Afro roots encompasses so many different genres. How would you define it?

Basically, the Afro roots is a reflection of my cultural interactions as an artist getting to interact with different people, styles of music, different cultural contexts, you know. [It] has also helped me mold my style of reggae music or African music, so it’s more of a product of all of these multiple genres. I’m just a child of that, and I think it reflects in my music. Different cultures, you know.

Yes, the melting pot, so to speak. Since I have you for a bit, I wanted to ask about growing up in Ghana. I’ve heard some interviews that you’ve given recently. Growing up with your father in the military barracks, were there specific incidences that made you choose to be a musician?

Well, the music was sort of always there, you know? It was part of me growing up. At the same time, too, another incident I would really relate to helping me in terms of my attraction to music, of communication and empowerment, was also due to the Ghanaian military. At the time I was growing up, I was very involved in politics. I grew up when Jerry Rawlings [attempted a coup d’état in 1979 and eventually] took over power in Ghana. And because he was a military man, we felt everything that was going on politically in the country. During the coup, our fathers were called off in the middle of the night, you know, so the barracks was the center of action; and at one point, they needed keys to the armory, as the barracks was under threat to be bombed. All the stress of the military take-over—I grew up right in the middle of it. That helped shape my focus on issues of national importance, and that then got bridged with music. That experience literally went on to define the artist I’ve become.

Wow, what an experience; the perfect crucible. Yes, and then the bridge that music provides. And what’s so ironic is the military connection to it.

You know, the funny thing is, in the places where I grew up, the soldiers were mostly— apart from your typical military history [like] when the army literally takes over the government—[in Ghana] there was also the inclusion of the Ghanaian military in all of the U.N. peacekeeping initiatives. You see? There was always a strong underlying positive theme—not totalitarian. So my father served as a cook, a military cook in Egypt, you know, as part of the U.N. So there was always the whole thing of seeing the military as more of a peacekeeping environment; we were seen more as peacekeeping than warriors, you know, warriors against aggression. So I grew up in the mind-set of military thinking, but my father wasn’t on the front line; he was a cook. Also, a lot of the soldiers, too, used to travel a lot and there was always an influx of fresh new music. So I was always hearing things that happen outside before it got really popular within Ghana. I was fortunate to this kind of musical nurturing.

Warrior poets on the cutting edge—

[laughs] Yeah, the cutting-edge stuff. So it kind of all helped nurture the very sharp and keen musical instinct within me. [laughs]

It’s good for the U.S. market. That familial connection seems to keep showing up. Coming back today, for instance, the panel that you were on this past weekend, can you talk about the social, good projects you are involved in?

Specifically, I work with the U.N. Foundation and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves launched by Hillary Clinton, of which I am an Ambassador. The innovations in cookstove technology are really helping to cut down in emissions and provide cleaner-burning fuels, which greatly improves health and the environment too. Also, it provides new opportunity to really nurture a sort of business that helps people from the bottom of the pyramid on up.

What sounds great about cookstoves is that it has an immediate impact. I hope it’s not lost on you that it’s a cookstove. I mean, your father—

Yeah, that’s very interesting. [looks upwards, smiles] My father was a cook, so there is a full-circle thing. [laughs] Actually, it never actually occurred to me that my father was a cook, and naturally, that led me to the cookstoves now.

Right. So the cookstove initiative has done really well?

Yeah, it has really reduced levels of soot, one of the leading causes of lung cancer, stroke, you know, and infant mortality. And [in] children under five, diseases are really caused from that, you know.

Yes, encouraging to hear this. And you performed afterwards?

I played “Jammin’ Nation,” “Walls Tumbling Down,” and “Get Up, Stand Up.” This was about waking up humanity. So I use music as a means to empowerment much like my album out now.

Yep. The new album, Branches of the Same Tree, I mean, there are certainly some hits here. What you would call them, dancehall songs? I think “African Thriller” will get some traction.

Yeah, [for “African Thriller,” there] was such a great first video for it. It also represented the cross-collaboration, you know, really crossing Afrobeat and dancehall, you know…

It’s catchy.

Yeah, and African dance music at the same time [so] it feels good, but it’s also empowering. Empowering in that way too, that is.

It’s, like, revolutionary.

Exactly. So that was really the concept, and the video, too, was very representative of that. So I think that song also defines my style, you know. My style is a fusion: you can [not] only find dancehall and reggae, and Afrobeat, all meeting seamlessly, because those are my foundations. And it’s a natural thing for me.

Oh, it’s beautiful, because when it works, it’s uplifting, but there’s also the power from the foundation of Afro roots and Afrobeat.

And all the highlife, the highlife guitar, and the same time, the funk too. So you find it all in there.

And, when it works, it’s so beautiful.

[laughs] Thank you.

Yeah, just a great message. I want to talk about this one song, “Children of Abraham,” that’s sort of a ballad. What was the inspiration behind it?

Well, I wrote “Children of Abraham.” It was inspired by a trip that I took to Israel. You know, I toured Israel with very famous Israeli artists, and spent a long time traveling with my friends, going to Shabbats, and having the opportunity to visit the mosques, to the Wailing Wall, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre [in Jerusalem]. And for me, “Children of Abraham” really started there. It was my recognition of commonality or the shared foundations of all Abrahamic faiths and the foundations of the commonality shared by all of us. And then I traveled to Jenin [in the West Bank] and went into a lot of Palestinian communities; met the women, children, and men. “Children of Abraham” is a song that, first of all, is a matter of recognizing how far we’ve come, really the brotherhood that we share. By how far we’ve come, I mean, “Put your weapons down,” because nobody’s talking anymore. War and violence look like the language for everything, you know? And, really try to nurture the truth of diplomacy and the truth of conversation and connection, and maybe, maybe that could start a dialogue towards genuine peace. And right now too, we just have to look at that region and recognize that conversation is really such an urgent thing; I feel that this song will provide inspiration for people to see that we are all children of Abraham.

Yes, and the song is part of the platform, from your perspective?

Yeah. And [“Children of Abraham”] is a manifestation of that. The refrain is “Come on, let’s make peace work.” You know, so it’s not like, “Let’s have peace,” it’s “Let’s make peace work.” So, it’s going to require effort and sacrifice, and all of us getting away from our orthodox views, and looking at new ways of engagement; but ultimately, it leans towards peace and our shared humanity, yes.

It is a moving song. There’s a bit of melancholy to it, of course.

Thank you, thank you. Yes, it comes from the soul, because I experienced and felt and saw this. It is based on real experiences and real connections with real people who are undergoing and dealing with the situation.

Having access to that reservoir as an artist is invaluable. That leads me to ask you about music as a platform for activism. Where does activism fit in as part of the creative process?

[laughs] Yeah, yeah. You mean in terms of whether it’s a conscious objective to you to use for a social cause?

Yeah, some of these classics from Bob Marley to Fela Kuti, as you know, there’s a very strong intention in their songwriting which has created some great, great music.

I think it has always been hard for me to make a distinction between whether activism is what inspires the music, or if music inspires activism. Yeah, the chicken or the egg? They all made sense to me from an early age, and once I recognized the opportunity to perform music live, and having platforms to engage in, how can that platform also have a tangible effect apart from its message. To really, directly impact people on the ground. You know, pondering over those things made me recognize the hype that comes with music can be used to shine light on issues. I feel that is a great use of the platform and the greatest legacy anyone can leave is how they impact the life of others. I believe that is what I aspire to.

That’s a noble way to engage in your art. Like you said, it doesn’t really matter which comes first. So maybe then, that’s where the activism is. It’s already there. Coming back to cooking, sometimes you put in one ingredient before the other, and it doesn’t really matter what goes in first.

Exactly. As long as you want to make some good sauce out of it, you know? [laughs]

So right, as long as it tastes good.

It tastes good, yeah, in the end.

There’s a famous quote by Duke Ellington that said, very simply, “If it sounds good, it is good.”


I wanted to ask you about your first gig in Accra, Ghana? Was that your first big gig?

Yes, that’s my first major gig. I mean, that was actually a turning point, you know. I mean, there are a few turning points in terms of a musician’s life. First of all, the story leading into that was, I had qualified to go to the University of Ghana. And, you know, getting to the university was a very hard thing; you sat for an exam that the whole country took, and only a few students were chosen.


And at the time, I felt I didn’t need a formal education. I just wanted to start my music. And, my brother, who was already in the university, came and lobbied me at home, and he was able to convince me. So I get on campus and I meet other amazing musicians and fellow students, and we decided to start a band. At first, we wrote a few songs and all collaborated. And then we set up… We made rough tapes and I started circulating them around campus. We played our first few concerts on campus and pretty much got known. By then, there was a big international concert with mainstream artists from Ghana, and other international artists, and I think Jermaine Jackson was even playing. So, we went [to the show] on the day, not understanding how shows are made; we get to meet the promoter in our get-ups to play, you know. And we’re like, “Well, we’re from the university, we play reggae and African music, and our music is pretty great, and you’ll pretty much be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give us a chance.” So he looked and was like, “Well, if you guys know how shows are booked, this has been set for a long time, but, since I’m curious…” Basically, he wanted to see what a bunch graduate students have to offer musically, you know? He gave us our chance to go on after the last band. We got onstage and our drummer didn’t even know what kind of drum set it was and started freaking out. We were like, “Just play! Wind up, find your kick, find your hi-hat,” that kind of stuff. We rolled in, and we just performed our hearts out. And, people started coming back. And from then on, you know, our band name became very popular. The band’s name was Local Crisis. My musical journey started from a local crisis of sorts.

It’s a very cool story.

[laughs] Yeah, it’s a cool story.

Thank you for sharing, because when I read about how you made that happen, I knew: I want to hear this. I wanted to talk about Africa for a moment because I feel like there’s so much happening there right now, and because of this album and your track “Black Star.” Are you referring to the black star on the Ghanaian flag?

Yeah, the black star in Ghanaian flag, and “black star” as a metaphor too, of the children of Africa. So, there’s the metaphor to represent what we Africans all should aspire, you know, in terms of aspire to excellence. And when I talk about Africa too, you know, everybody comes from Africa. Every person alive that makes up a part of this human tree of humanity has their roots, their ancient, ancient roots in Africa. So, empowerment of Africa is actually for the good of all humanity and that’s why “Black Star” is a song of empowerment for young Africans. You know, it has to come from rooting out corruption. It has to come from elevation of our manhood. It has to come from nurturing our traditional industries and not by selling out our continent. This is a song, but it represents a challenge to inspire young Africans to take charge of their destiny. And this is an appeal to the world community that Africa needs partners for Africa’s development, genuine partners who also share the same interest of Africans. It has to also come from the concept in “Africa as One.” You know, [sings line from “Black Star”] “Rise ye mighty people once again.” Waiting for some handout or some type of aid from outside is rarely the way to go. And, that takes me to the topic of education, because it’s really one of the best ways to help nurture that “can-do” spirit. Make education accessible to everybody and then you have an equal playing field and allow people to be masters of their own destiny.

That’s the truth. There’s all of these various, tiny civil wars happening all over Africa, it seems.

Yes, and you know, you can find them both from old tribal problems that become bigger now and permeate in political parties, and then create divisions; you know, like all these things, things that we have to deal with, but it’s also the evolution of Africa’s experiment with democracy—taking modern democracy and integrate that within the context of traditional African ways. Yeah, to lead and be action-oriented in genuinely bringing people together, and to see what their collective will can do.

Yeah, it reminds me of the Peter Tosh song “African” from Equal Rights.

Yeah, [sings] “Whichever place you come from, as long as you’re a Black man, you are an African.”

Yeah. That’s it.

Yes, Peter Tosh. It lays the foundation, the whole thing has a truth to that, there’s evidence, there is science, and all that.

That’s what happens when I traveled there: most people feel that connection.


I was thinking about Nelson Mandela a bit because of something you said in your BBC interview, that Africans want a messiah, but there’s no real messiah; and when this person is elected, the people expect this person—it happens here, too, not just in Africa—we expect the president to be a messiah.

A one-way magician.

They expect them to be perfect—they’re not, they’re human. And I thought of Mandela; if there is someone close to a messiah in Africa, then it’d be him, but look what he had to endure. To be a messiah only after decades of imprisonment. And yet, he became a shining light. I think he’d certainly dig Branches of the Same Tree.

[smiles] Thank you.

Looking at the album, what’s the song that you think embraces your vision of an Africa living with authentic power, authentic leadership?

Several. They all hint in one way and really express this message like, “Rock Your Soul,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” and “Shine a Light.” But you know, to solve issues on a national scale requires time, patience, and contribution from every aspect of society, and everyone must be involved. If people are not involved with solving their own problems, I don’t think anyone can go and solve their problems for them. I just want Africans to see politics as an opportunity to do something for the greater good. I feel sad to see the sense of community that’s lost, you know? In Africa, we have these extended families. We have the family mentor and all relatives living nearby… There’s like a social net that supports everybody. And so, it makes life eternal. When you are born, you’re in this womb, kind of social cocoon that helps nurture you and gives you confidence and beauty of life, and that foundational stuff. I feel that cannot be peeled off to be lost in so many places in terms of community. Community spirit is a great thing to have.

Amen to that, man. Music is the glue to community.

Beautiful. You know, there’s much momentum going on, you know, with the [new] record and so we are very excited about it.

And you should be. Great listening and feel-good album. Afro-roots classic in many ways. Oh, before we wrap, please tell me about tomorrow night?

Yes, tomorrow night [April 8, 2015], I’ve been invited to join Jackson Brown, Melissa Etheridge, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Tom Morello, and La Santa Cecilia for an event called Concert for Social Justice [at the Fonda Theatre] presented by the Grammy Museum and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights. So I’ll be playing only short sets and then doing a finale together. Pretty much, the event title explains the importance of music.

There you go.

Yeah, proactive music, so this interview is a great warm-up. [laughs] I’m privileged to share the stage with all of these luminaries.

Sounds great. What a lineup. Afro roots will be well represented. It’s awesome that you’re playing. Extra ticket?

[laughs] Already accounted for. Maybe next time.

Yes, next time. It has been a rain-check kind of day. - Wax Poetics

"ROCKY DAWUNI: My GRAMMY nomination is for Ghana"

Grammy Award nominee, Rocky Dawuni has said his nomination is a testament to the musical ingenuity of Ghanaian artistes.

“This shows that Ghanaian music has come of age as a global force to reckon…It’s a testament that all the work we’ve done to bring our music to the world has yielded results”.

Dawuni has been nominated in the ‘Best Reggae Album’ category at the 2016 Grammy Awards for his album ‘Branches of the Same Tree’.

The African Thriller’ singer who on Monday Dec. 7, 2015 became the first Ghanaian to be nominated for the scheme, is competing with Morgan Heritage, Jah Cure, Barrington Levy, and Luciano.

An excited and content Dawuni told Bola Ray and Anita Erskine on the Starr Drive on Starr 103.5FM “I didn’t get there just by myself I was inspired by a lot of Ghanaian musicians whose work became an embodiment of who I am now.”

Referring to highlife and hiplife musicians he grew up listening to, Dawuni said, “this award is to honour all the work that they have done and continue to do.

“It’s a good day for Ghana and Ghanaian music.”

He added, “I never made records for awards…but then again I knew that at some point people who discern and value good work are going to recognize you.”

Rocky Dawuni told Anita he would be attending the awards ceremony with his daughter and some members of his record label.

“My daughter had already told her classmates she wanted her Daddy to make it to the Grammys so she could attend so she has already booked one of the [three] tickets. And then some folks from my record label.” - Ghana Web

"Acclaimed Musician Rocky Dawuni Joins Leadership Council"

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is proud to announce musician Rocky Dawuni has joined the organization’s Leadership Council.

“We are honored to have Rocky Dawuni join the Leadership Council and know he will bring new insights and energy to support our work,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “In April, we had the privilege to work with Rocky as part of the Concert for Social Justice and are looking forward to future collaborations.”

The Leadership Council supports the activities and programs of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, providing strategic advice, opening doors, and using their talents to advance social justice. In addition to Dawuni, the council includes President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, and other luminaries committed to supporting human rights.

"The primary mission of my music has been focused on amplifying the greater good and being an instrument for justice and the defense of human rights,’ said Rocky Dawuni. “Is an honor to join the esteemed Robert F. Kennedy Leadership Council and have the opportunity to champion its vision and aspirations." - RFK Human Rights

"Rocky Dawuni: Branches of the Same Tree"

What are these branches that Rocky Dawuni speaks, or rather sings about? You would probably, like me, be more accustomed to hearing it put differently—in fact in the obverse and thus: branches of the same root. But while that might sound more rational, it would just not be the same in spirit. The densely-textured music draws from many sources. The roots or the tree are the same and that means they are the mystical rhythms of Africa, but the branches spread far and wide in the hands of this very talented musician. I like to think that the album is like a very elegant railway system of linking folk rhythms of Ghana with Highlife, calypso and reggae and popular music from around the world. But to describe it as such gives it the impression of overcooking. In fact the whole project is a masterpiece of subtlety.

Rocky-Dawuni-Cvr-fnlRocky Dawuni’s take on the lineage of the hot and spicy vocal style, sees him summoning wailer-like tones and textures in his glorious tenor. His vocals float exquisitely over the thick instrumental textures: the sound of guitar-driven ensemble that in its turn adds a rich and not entirely predictable harmonic foundation. It is richly polyrhythmic. The surprises, when they come are extremely effective and none-too-discrete calypso and reggae-like riffs are sung with expressive and vaunted voice. There is a rugged and rumbling roistering bass line that underpins what sounds like a Ghanaian shout in “ Rock Your Soul” and the close-knit ensemble passages of the elegiac “Children of Abraham” develops from a single phrase in a deeply spiritual story. Other songs are heraldic in nature and narratives always soar like legendary birds in the sheltering sky.

Recent publicity of the album suggests that Rocky Dawuni is now at the pinnacle of his compositional and vocal powers. And while this is true, Branches of the Same Tree also suggests that he may scale even greater heights in the not-too-distant-future. But even if he never achieves anything better than this album, he has ample reason to be proud of what he has done right now. “Shine a Light is a superb opener—a joyous, dancing piece that absolutely engages you. It is followed somewhat later on by “The Sign” and “Butterfly” both mysterious ballad-edged songs with an ethereal feel. The instrumentalists—and the record has too many to name again—are thoughtful and hard-working and develop melodic soli when called upon to. “Nairobi” reminds me very much of Bob Marley, the late, great source of it all. Dawuni also continues to pour it on and ring in the changes in mood, structure and tempo, making for a constantly interesting programme.

The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony and rhythm, of composition, improvisation, of exploration, individuality and tradition is impressively maintained throughout. All in all, this is an album that has definitely been worth the wait from a musician and singer whose star is on the rise.

Track List: Shine a Light; Rock Your Soul; Black Star; African Thriller; Children of Abraham; We Never Stop; The Sign; Butterfly; Nairobi; Get Up Stand Up; Island Girl.

Personnel: Rocky Dawuni: lead vocals; Edward Dixon: drums(1, 3); Manas Itiene: drums (7, 10); Michael Hyde: keyboards (1, 2, 3, 6), drums (2), bass (3); Ronnie McQueen: bass (5, 6); CC Frank: drums (4); Rock Deadrick: drums (5, 6); Adam Topol: drums (8); Khalil Cummings: percussion (1); Sunday Olajuyin: percussion (4); Leon Mobley: percussion ( 7, 10,); Mark Sims: bass (1, 2, 10); Alhajy Ibrahim: bass (4), Synth Bass, keyboard overdubs (4); Tom Freund: bass, ukulele, guitars (8, 11), pump organ (11); John McKnight: keyboards (7, 10), guitars, trombone, rhythm, lead guitars (10), backing vocals (7, 10); Brian Jordan: guitars; Damon Aaron: guitars (3); Sam Wright: guitars (5); Tony Chin: guitars (6); Ackah Blay: rhythm guitar (4); Akwasi Dankwah: tenor guitar (4); John Papich: mandolin (1); Edward Osei Tutu: trumpet (4); Steve White: trumpet (7, 10); Emmanuel Ayeetey: trombone (4); Randall Fisher: saxophone (7, 10); DJ Drez: turntables (5); Anthony Brewster: backing vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 11); Keyboard overdubs (2); Swan Montgomery: backing vocals (1); Ijeoma Njaka: backing vocals (3, 4, 7, 9, 10); Samini: guest vocals (3) ; Dessy D’Lauro: backing vocals (4); CC White: backing vocals (5); Kandace Lindsey: backing vocals (7); Swan Montgomery: (8); Kandace Lindsey: backing vocals (9, 10); Oneko Arika: dub poetry (9); Pharfar: rhythm instrumentation (9).

Label: Cumbancha
Release date: March 2015
Buy music on: amazon - World Music Report

"The playlist: reggae, dancehall and soca – Kabaka Pyramid, Vybz Kartel and more An anthem for a burning city, the man behind bars with a masterplan, heavy African reggae from Rocky Dawuni and soca love from Destra"

"African Thriller is a heavy one-drop number that has the energy of a dancehall tune and a memorable hook.Reggae from the continent of Africa rarely gets played alongside music from Jamrock, but this track is an argument for heavy rotation." - The Guardian UK

"Branches of the Same Tree, Rocky Dawuni"

Veteran Ghanaian reggae musician and roots rocker Rocky Dawuni has always been interested in cross-cultural connections, both in his music and in his activism. His latest album is titled Branches of the Same Tree, and again and again, Dawuni finds underlying unity in the seemingly disparate. Dawuni’s debts to Bob Marley and Fela Kuti are clear, but the range of musical references is also far flung. The upbeat opening track, “Shine A Light,” points clearly to New Orleans funk and gospel, while the Hawaiian ukulele makes an appearance on a cover of Marley’s “Butterfly” as well as on “Island Girl,” the album’s closing track.

The theme of unity is also explored lyrically throughout, in songs evidently inspired by Dawuni’s travels. “Children of Abraham” hopes for peaceful coexistence in Israel and Palestine, and “Nairobi,” a plaintive ode to the Kenyan city, calls on its inhabitants to transcend tribal and political divisions. Dawuni takes on a more strident, assertive tone in the rousing African unity anthem, “Black Star,” which is the album’s real standout track. This is picked up again in the album’s second Bob Marley cover, Dawuni’s interpretation of the classic “Get Up, Stand Up,” which he sings in Ghanaian pidgin and gives a distinct Afrobeat flavor.

The production on the album is incredibly slick, with solid performances from Dawuni’s star-studded roster of musicians. And solid is perhaps the best word to sum up this album–while there is little here that will surprise or startle longtime listeners, it has a cohesive, coherent vision, expertly executed. -

"Art and activism: Humanitarian activist Rocky Dawuni on bringing diverse people and cultures together through music"

For a decade-and-a-half, Rocky Dawuni has been singing around the world, while campaigning for clean water, women’s empowerment and AIDS awareness. - Financial Express India

"It’s been a blessed year - Rocky Dawuni reflects on the year 2017"

The musician who is currently cooling off in Ghana for the holidays revealed to Spyderlee Entertainment TV’s Presenter Pamela Boateng during the just ended MUSIGA Presidential Grand Ball held at the State Banquet Hall that 2017 was a great year for him because of some of the great projects he embarked on.

‘2017 has been a year full of highs. It’s a year that I did a lot of work in terms of my UN works. I collaborated and traveled a lot on behalf of the UN. I was invited by the government of Canada and had the privilege of spending time with the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau… I also traveled to India and spent time with some Grammy nominees and winners… For me, it was a year that I was leveraging my music more to impact for social action and that’s something I’ve been working on for a long time,’ the African star said. - Ghana Web

"Rocky Dawuni meets Canadian Prime Minister at World Environment Day"

Grammy Awards nominee, Rocky Dawuni joined Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau to celebrate World Environment Day which was hosted by the Government of Canada.The Ghanaian musician, was invited alongside UN Goodwill Ambassadors, actor Adrian Grenier (Entourage), musician/surfer/activist Jack Johnson and UNEP Director Eric Soldeim.The event, which was under the theme, “With Nature”, was also attended by Catherine Mckenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change. - My Joy Online



"The Movement" (Aquarian Records, 1996)
"Crusade"  (Aquarian Records, 1998)
"Awakening"(Aquarian Records, 2001)
"Book of Changes" (Aquarian Records, 2005)
"Hymns for the Rebel Soul" (Aquarian Records, 2010)
"Branches of the Same Tree" (Cumbancha, 2015)
"Beats of Zion" (Aquarian Records / Six Degrees Distribution March, 2019)
"Voice of Bunbon, Vol.1" (Aquarian Records, 2020)
"Neva Bow Down" featuring Blvk H3ro (Aquarian Records, 2022) (single)


"Reggae Around the World" (Putumayo, 1998)
"Instant Karma-Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur " (Various Artists) (Warner Brothers, 2007)
"Playing For Change-Songs Around the World" (Various Artists) (Concord/Universal Music, 2009)
"Tribute to a Reggae Legend" (Putumayo, 2010)


"Wake the Town"
"Knockin on Heaven's Door"

"Jammin Nation"
"Jah Be For Us"

"Jah Be For Us"

(Various Artists)

"Survivor's Remorse" (STARZ)
"AfroRoots Vibration"

"Animal Kingdom" TNT
"Turn It Up" "Burn One" (Beats of Zion)

"Wake The Town"- FIFA SOCCER '08 (Electronic Arts)
"The One" -SIMMS '08 (Electronic Arts)
"Download the Revolution" FIFA SOCCER '10-(Electronic Arts)
"African Reggae/Soccer Fever" FIFA WORLD CUP SA '10 (Electronic Arts)
"Reggae Soca Party" The Sims Island Life Package 2013
"African Thriller" FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 


"Fist Fight" with Ice Cube, 2017
(Shine A Light)



Three-time GRAMMY nominated musician and activist, Rocky Dawuni, straddles the boundaries between Africa and the Diapsora to create his appealing Afro Roots sound that unites generations and cultures. A galvanizing performer, Dawuni has shared the stage with luminaries including Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, John Legend and many more. Named one of Africa's Top 10 global stars by CNN, he has showcased his talent at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and The Hollywood Bowl.  Rocky is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa and a UN Foundation Ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance. Rocky was recently named the Global Ambassador for the World Day of African and Afrodescendant Culture which is a globally recognized by UNESCO. 

Rocky Dawuni's infectious, sing-along sixth album, Branches of the Same Tree, (Cumbancha) was nominated for a GRAMMY for “Best Reggae Album” (2016) featuring the Afro Dancehall mashup video "African Thriller.”  The influential “Songlines Magazine named the album one of the “Top 10 Most Essential Reggae Albums of All Time!”

Rocky released his 7th album entitled "Beats of Zionin 2019 with its striking accompanying video shot in Jamestown, Accra (Ghana.)  “Wickedest Sound” features Ghanaian dancehall star, Stonebwoy and the gorgeous “Elevation” video was shot in India.  Another track from the album “Let’s Go” is the theme song for Cadbury Canada’s Bicycle Factory Campaign which brings bicycles to rural communities particularly helping young girls to continue their education. The upbeat positive Reggae track Champion Arise was named “Top Tune of the Day” on premier National Public Radio station KCRW where he also did a fabulous live recording from Accra with his full band for their “In Residence” series.  

Rocky released his Ghana focused “Voice of Bunbon, Vol. 1”  which was nominated for “Best Global Music Album” for the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. Three beautiful videos were released for the for the project including “Ghost Town” shot in Los Angeles which is a poignant tribute to 2020 as well as “Beautiful People” which was shot in Rocky’s home town of Bunbon, Ghana that explores how “a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude can shift our gaze to recognizing our personal and communal power.” The most recent video for the classic Palmwine Highlife track “Woara” 
 which means “you or it’s you” is sung in the local Akan dialect of Twi. It is a love song that uses its call and response style to express the beauty and triumph of being in love. His brand new single “Neva Bow Down” just launched worldwide and is a classic take on “rebel music.” The single was recently nominated for "Best Global Music Performance" at the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards! 

Neva Bow Down is a defiant rebel anthem well suited to boost morale in a troubled time.” AfroPop Worldwide

Rocky Dawuni Band: (Band size varies with venue / budget / etc)

Lead Vocals - Rocky Dawuni 

2 Background Vocals 





Percussion (full band) 

DJ (full band)

Saxophone (full band)

Trumpet (full band)

Band Members