Rocky Dawuni talks Africa politics

Rocky Dawuni and John Legend
I first featured Rocky Dawuni on my blog in March of 2012 but prior to that, we’ve had a relationship lasting beyond that
timeline and it was in my attempt to check in on him recently that gave birth to this piece where we got to talk about what is new with him and Africa politics. Below is how our conversation transpired.

You recently performed a peace concert in Kenya coming off the heels of that country’s recent elections, how did that concert go?
It was an inspiring experience. I was invited by the Kenya Red Cross to participate in its Chagua Peace Campaign initiative. This initiative started with a media campaign that got all of the presidential candidates to sign a public declaration of their pledge to peace prior to the elections.
The campaign then culminated into a big televised peace concert with performances involving myself and some of Kenya’s top music stars a few days prior to the elections amidst all the political tension. I also launched my new song and video “Nairobi I Love You” to help encourage a positive atmosphere.
From there I journeyed to Ghana to play at the National Stadium for the Ghana Unity Concert as part of my annual “Independence Splash” celebrations. That show was followed by the Ghana Music Honors at the National Theatre as part of Ghana Music Week where I received the “Best International Artist Award.”
I was then off to Cambodia for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Forum. I returned to Nairobi on the day the Kenyan Supreme Court ruling resolved the disputed elections. I used my appearances on radio and TV to appeal for calm and peace after the supreme court upheld the outcome of the elections. There were so many voices working to ensure that African election disputes don’t end up in violence. I am
pleased to say that my voice is part of this movement.
You have become a force for social good through your music and people have likened you to great musicians like Fela Anikulapo Kuti of Nigeria and Bob Marley of Jamaica who were also political. That said, do you see politics in your future?
It is always an honor in all humility to be compared with Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. There are politics in all aspects of engaging leadership for people to effect any kind of change. As a musician who focuses on social justice issues, I am very aware of the need to understand the mechanisms of power and encouraging those who wield it for the greater good. I don’t see this as some sort of political office but as an aspect of making my message and the light of my music bear tangible fruits in people’s lives.
How do you feel about the on-going political scuffle in the courts of Ghana as both the incumbent and opposition contest the cleanliness of the country’s recent elections?
My view is not to address the cleanliness or non cleanliness of the electoral process since I am not informed enough on what transpired on the ground to make any judgement. One thing I can say for sure though is that the process of democracy has to be complemented by the development of institutions that will help strengthen it if there is disagreement. I commend all Ghanaians for choosing to use the courts to settle their political misunderstanding and strengthening the judicial arm of government. My only concern is that our constitution needs to outline a clear timeline to resolve such electoral disputes in the courts so that we can unite as a nation to move forward. There is always the danger of dragging electoral disputes in the courts and thus creating an air of uncertainty and social paralysis which affects the daily lives of ordinary people. I believe Ghana will emerge out of this much into a stronger state of transparent ruling which will be respected by all parties involved.
Your last album, ‘Hymns for the Rebel Soul’, has been a great success and you are presently working on your next album, could you tell your fans a little bit about this new album and what they can expect from it?
My new album will contain some of what my listeners have always expected as well as signs of me stepping into new and exciting territories with my sound. I am influenced by global culture and will integrate some of those elements into the new album. I have been recording it between Ghana and the US which has been very fun working with amazing
musicians from all over the world!
You recently performed with John Legend in Beverly Hills California to raise funds for a women’s cause in
April 2013 and a little over a month back you were visited by Dr. Dre. I guess what am trying to ask is whether your fans should expect a collaborative effort in your upcoming album this time with a Ghanaian or international artist?
It was wonderful to meet John Legend and to perform together on the same bill. The show was a fundraiser to raise awareness for women’s issues for Women’s Campaign International. It was also great to see Dre again and have him hang out at my club; Afro Funke’. I believe that a natural process of musical collaboration is possible in its due time. The fans will definitely be the first to know when this occurs.
Is there anything new going on in your life or career that you will like to inform the world about?
I will start my tour of Europe with my band from Los Angeles in May with concerts in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Greenland. July will also be a busy time touring in Europe, Africa, and the US while I finish the new album. It is an exciting time to engage with people and share the gift of music, a message of spiritual awakening, righteousness, global consciousness and positive social action.
Well there you have it folks, yours truly will keep you posted on the newest and latest about Rocky Dawuni.

Written by: Oral Ofori

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