Rocky Dawuni was Grammy nominee for ‘Best Reggae Album’. Not a lot of African reggae artists receive this honor. We ran into this Rastaman from Ghana during our trip to Ethiopia. Of course we took the opportunity to ask him some questions.
Please tell us who is Rocky Dawuni ?
I am from the Northern Region of Ghana in West Africa. I come from an indigenous traditional people called the Komba. My older brother is currently the Chief of my town of origin called Bunbon. My traditional royal lineage has also provided me a deep appreciation of African culture as a musician who perceives his music and works as not only a means to entertain but to empower and inspire. I see myself as a person who aspires to ignite positive consciousness through music. At the same time as an advocate for cultural awakening. I believe this will lead to greater understanding and as a result that more peaceful coexistence among the diverse people of all nations.
Why are you here in Ethiopia alongside this special, unique group of people ?
I was invited to join a group of inter-religious and spiritual leaders from various faiths. For a mission to Ethiopia and to the African Union. The group embarked on events to promote harmony and interfaith consciousness. As a musician, an African and a Rasta; it was an honor for me to be a part of this mission. But especially for me to highlight the African dimension. And to participate in two concerts dubbed U-Day in Addis Ababa and Shashemane. Ethiopia represents the spiritual and political capital of the African continent. So for me the symbolism of the mission was very profound. The teachings and legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie are crucial for the re-awakening of Africa. So on another hand it was a spiritual pilgrimage for me as well.
“We have an army of amazing artists that make up the new movement of Ghanaian Reggae including Samini, Stonebwoy, Blakk Rasta, Ras Kuuku, Iwan, Black Prophet, Shatta Wale. They are all artists who are doing great works and commanding a following in Ghana and Abroad
How do you see the future for African reggae artists ?
African Reggae has made incredible contributions to magnify the global presence of Reggae music today. Artists like Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Majek Fashek, Meta Dia and myself. We have all worked to expand the music to audiences around the globe and made it a truly global force. So it keeps rising with more artists joining our ranks. The future is definitely brighter as we keep building upon such a solid and global foundation. We have surely arrived!
What can you tell us about the reggae scene in Ghana ?
The Reggae scene in Ghana is thriving and vibrant. So we have always had a strong element of Reggae touches in some modern variants of Highlife music and or our own iconic Reggae artists who contributed to the overall profile of the genre which eventually facilitated the opportunity for artists like me to rise. The earlier notable names and bands were Roots Anabo, Felix Bell, Vitamin X and Kojo Antwi . Now the rise of the African dancehall scene has also helped to invigorate the scene with energy. We now have artists that are making an impact around the world and across the continent.
What can we expect from Rocky Dawuni in the future ?
I have a new and exciting album called “Beats of Zion” which will be released in early 2019 with a world tour. So it is the follow up to the GRAMMY-nominated “Branches of the Same Tree.” I recently was designated as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations , which should further expand on my social and creative activism initiatives and advocacy while continuing my works on environment awareness, peace building, human rights, social action, conservation and social empowerment.
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