Synthesizing the aesthetic impulses of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti, Ghanaian artist/activist Rocky Dawuni fuses soul, pop, afro-beat, and reggae into a style he calls “Afro-Roots”. The international musician and humanitarian was named one of Africa’s Top 10 Global Stars by CNN and is a United Nations Foundation Ambassador. Dawuni has collaborated and performed with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, and John Legend. His electric live performances have brought out thousands of spectators from all over the world at reggae and world music festivals, The Kennedy Center, and The Hollywood Bowl.
The multi-faceted creative drops the video for his highly charged single “African Thriller” (which you can watch below). The song will be featured on Rocky’s forthcoming album, ‘Branches Of The Same Tree’, slated to be released in early 2015. The video casts Dawuni as the master of ceremonies of a sweaty, vibrant dance battle in which beautifully adorned boxers fuse dance with sparring in an explosion of colors and styles. Dawuni explains, “the video hints at historical and cultural signposts in a metaphoric expression of how the dance floor is one of the ultimate and most colorful places for global unity, celebration, and liberation.”
“African Thriller” exemplifies Dawuni’s signature Afro-Roots groove, in what he describes as, “a persona, concept, and vision of what contemporary beauty and excitement will emerge from the confrontation and collision of cultures.” Jeremy Sole, the DJ, producer, and host for taste-making Los Angeles radio station KCRW, remixed the single.
Dawuni’s sixth album, ‘Branches Of The Same Tree’, promises to bring him an even wider international audience. Featuring inspiration from the soulful production of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, to the positive messages of Bob Marley, and the infectious sing-along anthems of Michael Franti and Matisyahu, the forthcoming album has impressive depth. Straddling the musical boundaries between the Caribbean, United States, and Africa, Dawnui’s sound is universally appealing.
Along with the release of the official video, Rocky Dawuni is calling on fans to create and post their own versions of the “African Thriller” dance battle via social media with the hashtag #AfricanThriller.