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 and fans 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, Rocky’s music and electric live performances have attracted thousands to his concerts.
AQUARIAN Records officially released Rocky’s 5th studio album, “Hymns for the Rebel Soul” in the US on May 2010. The 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. Rocky sees this album as a musical exploration in global consciousness.
Video Game Giant EA (Electronic Arts) 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 that 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.
In the US, Dawuni’s progressive fusions 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 “War /No more Trouble” for the highly successful “Playing for Change: Songs around the World” album. Rocky Dawuni is also featured with other global stars on “Tribute to a Reggae Legend” (Putumayo) with his genre-bending rendition of “Sun is Shining” by Bob Marley. Rocky has received prominent exposure for this music on hit TV shows like Weeds, ER and Dexter.
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 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 8 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.
Dawuni’s critically acclaimed current album “Hymns For the Rebel Soul“ was nominated for a prestigious NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding World Music Album“ and “Best Reggae Song” at the Ghana Music Awards 2011. Hynms was also up for “Best Album” and Rocky for “Best African Artist” (which he won) at the International Reggae & World Music Awards that were held in Trinidad on May 28th where he also put in a show stopping performance with Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Machel Montano and Tony Rebel with their rendition of Bob Marley’s classic “One Love.”
Rocky has performed around the world at many the biggest stages for World and Reggae music events. Recent performances include the 18,000 strong “We Day” event in Toronto, Canada alongside Somalian superstar K’Naan for Free The Children. He also did a live performance on international tastemaker radio station KCRW 89.9FM with Jason Bentley on “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” In late 2010, he appeared at the Freedom Awards with super star, Jason Mraz in Los Angeles which was televised by live on Halogen TV.
Rocky Dawuni had beautiful tours of Africa, Europe and the United States in the summer of 2011with live dates including a headlining performance at the National Theatre in Nairobi, Kenya for the NGO March Forth Kenya Kids. He was then seen alongside the legendary Stevie Wonder with Janelle Monae, Sharon Jones & other global stars backed by The Tonight Show's Ricky Minor Band at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 24, 2011. He also performed at Les Esteivales de la Perriere in France on August 13 with the legendary Shaggy, Monty Alexander and Diana King where they joined together on stage to give an absolutely magical rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry!”
In the fall of 2011, Rocky headed to 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 program, was in Ghana’s capital, Accra during a break in touring. During his stay in the capital, the award winning artist who was also nominated Ghana’s Tourism Ambassador this year was appointed “World Music Ambassador for MUSIGA (Musician’s Union of Ghana).”