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Get the details about Rocky Dawuni’s ‘Beats of Zion’ album

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Get the details about Rocky Dawuni's 'Beats of Zion' album
Get the details about Rocky Dawuni's 'Beats of Zion' album. Photo Credit: Rocky Dawuni

Rocky Dawuni has announced the release of his 7th studio album ‘Beats of Zion’ out March 8th, 2019 via Six Degrees Distribution.

The 13-track album follows the GRAMMY nominated album Branches of the Same Tree,(“Best Reggae Album” in 2016) and expands Rocky’s “Afro Roots” sound to include the diversity of the Ghanaian music scene and its current global outreach.

Although Rocky’s music has had CNN naming him “Africa’s Top 10 global stars” and Ziggy Marley stating “Rocky’s music is creative inspiration that knows no boundaries,” it’s only one part of what drives his mass appeal.

Recently, Rocky was designated a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Africa at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya during the Global Landscapes Forum.

This is on top of the social campaigns and activism he’s done including work with Product (RED), ONE, UNICEF, UNESCO, The Carter Center, Clean Cooking Alliance and the United Nations Foundation.

Rocky’s travels around the world helped shape the new album Beats of Zion.

He elaborates, “Beats of Zion was born out of my desire to use my diverse global musical influences and exposure to various traditions to paint a multi-cultural musical vision of the world that I perceive. The beginning of the year saw me visit Ethiopia and India”.

“In Ethiopia, I visited Lalibela, witnessing ancient Christian rites and my journeys in India also exposed me to its diverse spiritual culture and the shared similarities I saw to Africa”.

Beats of Zion
He adds, “The title Beats of Zion” is inspired by a vision of the drumbeat of awareness and elevation of consciousness; a musical call to arms for my audience to be proactive in this day and age as to each person’s responsibility to be an active instrument for positive change.”

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Get the details about Rocky Dawuni's 'Beats of Zion' album
Get the details about Rocky Dawuni’s ‘Beats of Zion’ album

The album was recorded in the span of almost 2 years in various studios in Accra, Nairobi and Los Angeles.

In LA, Rocky was gifted studio time at the legendary Village Studios that has recorded the most influential artists including Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, and Fleetwood Mac.

Rocky ended up recording in the same studio room that Fleetwood Mac used and created the magic of the title track and “Wickedest Sound.”

Rocky found out that Fleetwood Mac were one of the memorable American classic rock bands to visit Ghana in the 1970s making the experience more special and inspired the Ghanaian traditional highlife song “Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu” as a homage to his heritage.

These 3 tracks recorded at Village Studios kicked off the entire album making process.

The title track and lead single “Beats of Zion” came out well from the Village Studios session, but was missing something on the drum tracking.

Rocky states, “We travelled to Zanzibar for a concert shortly after the recording session. At the time, I was still wanting the full African tribal effect that I had imagined.

On the eve of my concert at the amazing Sauti za Busara Festival, we saw Batimbo Percussion Magique of Burundi mount the stage and blow the minds of everyone in the audience.

I turned to my manager; Cary Sullivan who was also watching and we thought the same – ‘these are the guys for Beats of Zion’ and so the story unfolded.” The lead single will also have an accompanying video due out January 25th. “Wickedest Sound” is another song that speaks volumes, featuring Ghanaian dancehall star Stonebwoy.

Audio: Beats Of Zion by Rocky Dawuni

The track combines elements of modern Afrobeats with Reggae music. With production paying homage to the organic recordings of classic Highlife music, it also combines a groove driven melodic approach with the traditional call and response style of singing.

“Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu” is a sprawling remake of the Highlife classic originally recorded by Ghanaian maestro K. Frimpong.

This re-imagined version pays homage to Rocky’s Ghanaian legacy and he brought in an international cast of musicians from the US, Belize, Cuba, Ghana and Brazil to expand the traditional sound boundaries of this track.

Ghanaian lyricist Sarkodie’s rap melds current traditional pop elements to make this song an opus of sounds, harmonies and sweet melodies.

“Let’s Go” fuses pop sensibilities, Reggae and the grooves of New Orleans to create a feel good anthem of forward mobility and positive vibrations. The hand claps add an organic Gospel feel to this exhilarating song.

Other tracks that show more dimensions to the album include the Cumbia inspired dancehall track “Freedom Train” featuring Argentinian Dancehall star Alika and “Burn One” that is an homage to the social transformative power of the legalization of marijuana in the spheres of medicine, recreational use and as a primary tool for economic emancipation.

There will be beautiful high quality videos coming out for many of the tracks on the album including “Elevation” which was shot on location in southern India. It is an inspirational groove filled with a message of hope and uses the traditional Rastafarian Nyabinghi sounds.

“Champion Arise,”a track that easily fits into the current roots reggae revival sound, paints a spiritual picture with biblical imagery and inspirational lyrics about spiritual warfare for the upliftment of all people.

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The diversity and features found on the new album are in step with Rocky’s vision of constantly evolving the boundaries of his sounds and expanding its global palettes and reach.

In a time when divisive rhetoric is on the rise and the political climate prefers to build walls over bridges, Rocky’s album Beats of Zionis a refreshing message about global unity and a worldview of oneness.

Rocky passionately states, “We live in a time when the elements of international morality need to be proclaimed as a guiding principle for how we engage and deal with each other, between individuals, between communities and among nations.

It is a time for global mobilization for action on challenging socio-political issues like the environment and the refugee crisis. Beats of Zion is the drumbeat of war against apathy and re-energizing the forces of love and hope.”

He concludes, “Beats of Zion is the rhythm of change beating from a distance and getting louder to awaken positive consciousness.”

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Medikal’s display on Tim Westwood TV an unsung piece on his ‘The Plug’ EP

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Medikal's display on Tim Westwood TV an unsung piece on his 'The Plug' EP
Medikal's display on Tim Westwood TV an unsung piece on his 'The Plug' EP. Photo Credit: TimWestwoodTV/YouTube

Fans and critics alike as well as music lovers in general have met Medikal’s viral video of his session at Tim Westwood TV with a resounding applause.

The first 30 seconds of his alleged ‘freestyling’ on the show is what granted him the overall appraisal from all and sundry due to its lyrical composition on redefining the African reputation in the eyes of the world.

However, it so happens that his delivery was an actual piece on his EP dubbed, ‘The Plug’ but probably didn’t gain the needed attention as it was rather overshadowed by his other songs with sexually suggestive phrases.

He challenged the status quo and false mindset of foreigners who simply have a negative imagery of Africa in their minds eye due to the false news stories that major news agencies such as CNN and Aljazeera normally project as the African narrative.

A mutual reaction that run through all the comments of viewers suggest that the act has proven Medikal’s artistry to not only be all about profanity, sex and money but an ability to tackle social issues and influence minds unto positivity and productivity.

What’s your take on this new side of the controversial rapper?

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VGMA 2019: When Daughters of Glorious Jesus reigned at the 2004 Ghana Music Awards

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VGMA 2019: When Daughters of Glorious Jesus reigned at the 2004 Ghana Music Awards
VGMA 2019: When Daughters of Glorious Jesus reigned at the 2004 Ghana Music Awards. Photo Credit: Daughters of Glorious Jesus/Facebook

In the days when their genre had much audience and appeal, female gospel music group the Daughters of Glorious Jesus stood out as top artists in the Ghanaian music industry.

From performing at major events, including the opening ceremony of the CAN 2008, to receiving numerous honours, the daughters of glorious Jesus are well deserving of the title legendary in our music space.

With the announcement of the 20th VGMA (Vodafone Ghana Music Awards) last weekend, we couldn’t help but recollect the feat clinched by the music group at the 2004 edition of the Ghana Music Awards.

In a year under review in which there were notable entries from VIP, Obrafour & more, the Daughters of Glorious Jesus illuminated the night when they made history by becoming the first music group to take home 5 music awards on a single night as stated in this 2004 report by GhanaMusic.com.

… Daughters of Glorious Jesus, also a trio, having swept all the gospel slots namely; Gospel Song Of The Year (Brebrebeyi), Gospel Album Of The Year (Aseda) and Gospel Artiste Of the Year, went on to grab the overall Album Of The Year (Aseda) and the Best Female Vocal Performance. That makes Daughters of Glorious Jesus the Gospel music group with the HIGHEST Ghana Music Awards honours so far.

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That was their influence in a year that theDaughters of Glorious Jesus were celebrating their 15th year on the gospel music scene.

Comprising of Cynthia Appiadu, Monica Owusu Ansah and Edna Sarpong, the Daughters of Glorious Jesus started out in the late ‘80s at the Resurrection Power and Living Bread Ministries.

Their debut album, Anwanwa Do, was released in 1990 and they have since been one of the notable faces and voices in the Ghanaian gospel music industry whiles releasing numerous songs and albums.

Some of their songs that will easily draw some nostalgia from you are;

Mebo Wo Din Daa, Edin No, Asomdwoe Hene, Tumi Wo Mu, Fata Ayeyie, Ewurade, Yesu, Woye M’ade Nyinaa, Aseda ben, Yeyi waye, Okasa Preko, Fa wasem to Awurade Anim, Momma Yenben Awurade, Odomfo, Onakwafo Nyame, Beberee, Ahinta Bea, Wo Ntaban.

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Meet the future of Ghana’s Music: 2019 VGMA Unsung Artistes

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Meet the future of Ghana's Music: 2019 VGMA Unsung Artistes
Meet the future of Ghana's music: 2019 VGMA Unsung Artistes. Photo Credit: Ghana Music Awards

The year under review for the 2019 VGMAs birthed out a whole new crop of incredible talents earning them nominations in the unsung categories.

The unsung is an initiative to project artistes who are doing well but have not had the exposure.

Major names now such as Kuami Eugene who has risen through the ranks to be nominated as Artiste of the Year was previously an Unsung winner two years ago.

The likes of Kelvynboy who is doing quite well now with a nomination in the New Artiste of the Year category was also last year’s Unsung winner.

Here are your 2019 VGMA Unsung artistes, their songs and the possible names to dominate the future of Ghana’s music industry:

OV got recognised after she won the 2018 MTN Hitmaker. She then signed unto BHIMNation has since gone on to release a single featuring Stonebwoy.

Kula, a rap artist, had a relatively good 2018 where he released songs, music videos whiles also performing at some entertainment events. His latest release is the music video for his rap song, Muurder.

Unyx has been on the radar of the music industry ever since she released ‘Ekpi’, a cover of Vybrant Faya’s ‘Mampi’. The Afro-Dancehall songstress started 2019 ‘Me Dat’ featuring Dopenation.

Rocky Dawuni is featuring Stonebwoy on his new album

Eye Keyz is an Afro-Pop vocalist, performer, songwriterand former beauty Queen. She joined the Zylofon Arts Club in 2018 and has since gone on to release a couple of songs and videos.

Signed unto Highly Spiritual Music, Mr Drew has been on the rise ever since he emerged out of MTN Hitmaker 7. To prove why he deserves the VGMA Unsung slot, Mr Drew has released a new song and music video.

Lycon, broke barriers when he won the 2018 CloseUp Music Challenge. The singer didn’t keep his fans waiting for long as he released a couple of works to prove his mettle.

Newly signed to AJ Records, ScripT made a comeback with a new street anthem when he featured Strongman on ‘Give Me Joy’ after taking time off to discover his true sound.

Rapper Mantse AY released a full EP in 2018 to project happenings in his world and the untold truth about the streets. Titled L.O.T.S, Manste AY put out 5 songs on the E.P including ‘Superstar’.

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