Introducing Rocky Dawuni
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 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. In 2016 he made history by becoming the first ever Ghanaian to be nominated for a Grammy Award.
Dawuni’s was born January 22, 1969 and began his life as the child of a cook on a military barracks in Ghana. 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.
Dawuni’s music has been featured in numerous television programs, including ER, Weeds and Dexter. In 2010, Dawuni’s song “African Soccer Fever” was included on the FIFA World Cup South Africa video
game from EA Sports, one of many times Dawuni’s songs have been included in EA video games. Dawuni’s cover of John Lennon’s “Well Well Well” appeared on the digital bonus version of the Amnesty International benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, which was released by Warner Brothers in 2007 and featured appearances by U2, R.E.M., Aerosmith featuring Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Black Eyed Peas and others. Dawuni has also participated in the 2009 Playing for Change albumn, singing along with Bono on “War/No More Trouble” and Keb Mo’ on “Biko.”
Dawuni’s eloquence, cultural diplomacy and successful melding of music and activism have led him to become a passionate spokesperson for various global causes. He has joined forces with Product (RED), UNICEF, the Carter Center, and the UN Foundation. He has worked on campaigns focused on Guinea worm eradication, environmental issues, women’s health and education, HIV Aids advocacy, peace building and clean water. In 2012, Dawuni was appointed the Tourism and Cultural Ambassador of Ghana and World Ambassador for the Musicians Union of Ghana. The same year, he was named a United Nations Foundation Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative launched by Hillary Clinton, alongside actress Julia Roberts and chef José Andrés. In 2013, Rocky performed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCC) in Warsaw, Poland in front of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and delegates from around the world.
He also has served on a Brookings Institute think tank on cultural diplomacy (Timbuktu Action Group) as part of the efforts to restore Mali’s famed Festival Au Desert and was invited by Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center to Rwanda to meet the Minister of Youth and Culture and visit the Gihembe refugee camp in order to highlight Rwanda’s shinning efforts to heal the wounds of the past.
Today, Dawuni is a household name in his native land, and widely considered one of Africa’s most recognized international stars. Darwuni is joing the amazing line up of performers at HOSW8.