Fresh from a performance with Yothu Yindi, Reggae legend & Activist Rocky Dawuni drops by the NITV Radio Studio to shine a light on your day.
International music star and humanitarian activist Rocky Dawuni straddles the boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create an appealing sound that unites generations and cultures. With an easy-going charisma and reputation as a dedicated champion of social causes, Dawuni’s infectious grooves and dance-inducing anthems have consistently excited fans across the globe. A galvanizing performer, Dawuni has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, Janelle Monae and John Legend, among many others. Named one of Africa’s Top 10 global stars by CNN, he has showcased his talent at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Dawuni began his life as the child of a cook on a military barracks in Ghana. His father’s innate intelligence and charm helped him quickly rise in his position to become the cook for the base’s colonels and generals. During this time, his father – Koytau Dawuni, befriended many high-ranking officers and observed the deep pride they felt in sending their children to school.
Dawuni’s father began to raise his own children with the same standards, investing heavily in education. The second born of eight siblings, Dawuni excelled at school and eventually his father decided to move him back to their home village where he could learn more about his cultural heritage. As it turned out, Koyatu’s humble employment belied his status as a member of the royal family of the Konkomba tribe, which ruled from a village called Bunbon Nayili in Northern Ghana. After retiring from the military, Koyatu returned to his native village to serve as the Chief, a role currently held by Dawuni’s older brother, Chief Wumbe Dawuni.
Despite the isolation of the village and barracks life, Dawuni was exposed to the music of other cultures after his father was posted to Egypt with the United Nations forces. The multi-ethnic mix of Ghanaian tribes in the barracks also revealed to Dawuni the diversity of expressions found in his own country. “I was always looking for music,” Dawuni remembers, “Whenever bands played, I would gravitate towards that. There was a band in the barracks called Hot Barrels, and I remember that every time they had rehearsal I would chill at their space and just listen to them play.”