Ghanaian roots reggae artist Rocky Dawuni’s international profile has grown with the release of each successive album. His music has become a fusion of different international styles.
On his latest album Branches of Change, the blending of styles has reached a new level. The album’s first track, "Shine a Light," blends elements of American blues and gospel, Nigerian highlife, samba and Afro beat, just to name a few and is intended as a clear signal that the listener should expect to be pleasantly surprised.
"All of those things are just the truth of me as an artist," explains Dawuni. "It’s just a natural evolution that I felt I should have the courage to reflect in my music. On Branches of the Same Tree, it really became fully, fully reflected, and people are going to be really surprised as to where the path has taken me."
Dawuni was greatly influenced by his early experience with the music and the message of Bob Marley, and he has always made a point of trying to live out the ideals expressed in his songs.
“When you use the stage to talk about empowerment, and also changing people’s lives, sometimes you have to understand that when the music stops, how are you able to also leverage this thing to work with mechanisms that will help implement your world view.”
To this end, Dawuni has leant his support over the years to causes such as the effort to eradicate the Guinea worm, AIDS prevention and treatment, women’s empowerment, and environmental issues. He is currently serving as an ambassador for the UN Fund Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves, an effort that could save millions of lives in equatorial Africa, Asia, South America and elsewhere.
The combination of artistry and social conscience has brought Dawuni in contact with people as diverse as Stevie Wonder, Hillary Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Julia Roberts. Sharing a stage with Stevie Wonder was a personal highlight for Dawuni. He recalls a time when his wildest dream was to perform with Wonder. When Wonder wound up joining Dawuni on-stage during a concert, Dawuni says that memory was vividly running through his mind.
Catch Dawuni live at World Fest this weekend in Grass Valley.