Rocky Dawuni On His Grammy Nomination & the Power of Ghanaian Music

We talk to Rocky about what’s at stake as African-rooted genres become global.

Earlier this year, Ghanaian singer-songwriter and producer Rocky Dawuni opened his keynote speech at the World Day of African & Afrodescendant Culture in Accra by saying, “Culture is our identity. There has never been a people who have been able to rise to their highest potential without having their culture as a means of stating who they are.” This serves as the singular impetus behind Dawuni’s recently Grammy-nominated album Voice of Bunbon, Vol. 1, which he tells OkayAfrica is a “sonic journey of empowerment.”

On the heels of the announcement that the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show had officially been rescheduled to April 3, Dawuni sat down with OkayAfrica to discuss the makings of his eighth studio album and its nomination in the category of Best Global Music Album, the cultural moment that popular African music presents to diasporic musicians and the diaspora at large, what it means to grow up in a royal traditional family of Bunbon, and what’s at stake as African-rooted genres such as afrobeats become global and a part of mainstream culture.

Read our conversation below.

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African Artists At The Grammys: Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Rocky Dawuni & Jidenna Earn 2016 Nominations

Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Zomba Prison Project, Rocky Dawuni, and Jidenna have all been nominated for 2016 Grammys.

Angélique Kidjo at the 2015 Grammys. (Photo courtesy of Angélique Kidjo)

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