Ghanaian Star Rocky Dawuni’s ‘Shade Tree’: A Song of Unity and Hope
Renowned international musician, songwriter, producer, and activist Rocky Dawuni unveiled his latest single, “Shade Tree,” to a global audience on September 12, 2023. This release marks the first track from the upcoming album, scheduled for a 2024 debut, by the three-time GRAMMY-Nominated artist. “Shade Tree” represents a timely anthem of empowerment and unity, masterfully delivered by the Ghanaian star.
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The song is built upon the symbolic concept of a tree that provides shade for the diverse “shades” of humanity. It serves as a meeting point and refuge for people of all backgrounds, a place where conflicts can find resolution, and the shelter from life’s storms is shared amongst everyone. The song beautifully underscores the interconnectedness of humanity with nature, drawing parallels between the roots of the tree and the shared destiny of all living beings. Under this metaphorical shade tree, we form a community while celebrating our individuality.
As the lyrics emphasize, “we are one, but we are not the same.” Just like the leaves of the tree, we come in various textures, colors, and shades, yet we all share the same roots. The song’s perspective is that of a solitary soul seeking connection and community, which mirrors the myriad manifestations of human gatherings and celebrations that alleviate isolation. Against the backdrop of Africa’s evolving political landscape and the world’s growing geopolitical divisions, “Shade Tree” serves as a poignant reminder of our common humanity.
Rocky Dawuni’s unique “Afro Roots” sound combines elements of Roots Reggae, Afrobeat, Highlife, Soul, Pop, and more. As a captivating performer, Dawuni has graced the stage alongside musical luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, Ozomatli, Peter Gabriel, Angelique Kidjo, and many others. CNN recognized him as one of Africa’s Top 10 global stars, highlighting his talents showcased at prestigious venues like The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and The Hollywood Bowl.
Beyond his musical prowess, Rocky Dawuni is a dedicated activist, serving as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment in Africa and a Global Ambassador for the World Day of African and Afro-Descendant Culture. He also runs the Rocky Dawuni Foundation, utilizing his music to shed light on critical global issues through live concerts, speaking engagements, panel discussions, youth empowerment initiatives, and more.
“Shade Tree,” written by Rocky Dawuni, features additional production by GRAMMY-Nominated engineer and musician Anthony Brewster, as well as renowned engineer Michael Vail Blum. The song was expertly mixed by multiple GRAMMY Award-winning engineer and producer Qmillion, also known for his work on albums like Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio” and Seun Kuti’s projects.
Drawing from a diverse array of influences and vocal stylings that occasionally evoke classic soul legends like Curtis Mayfield and D’Angelo, “Shade Tree” seamlessly blends elements of Hip Hop, Reggae, and socially resonant commentary. The song’s irresistible conscious groove heralds a new era of hope.
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