New Music: Rocky Dawuni
OCGente’s New Music Month
Musician/Humanitarian Rocky Dawuni is walking the talk and uniting his Ghanaian Roots with Global Soul.
Rocky Dawuni walks the talk. 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 (Aquarian Records; May 25, 2010), Dawuni 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. Dawuni is re-imagining a fearlessly global, one-love reggae with contemporary African ingenuity.
In the late 1990’s, Dawuni took the plunge as a young psychology student at the University of Ghana and started a band with four other students. 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. 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.
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.
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 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.”
And Hymns for the Rebel Soul will keep all who listen, thinking and grooving.
Photo Credit: Rachel Samuel