'Music is the highest form of expression'

'Music is the highest form of expression'

High notes

'Music is the highest form of expression'

With a lively personality and a tone to match that, artiste Rocky Dawuni, a vocalist from Ghana, has everything a person looks for in a musician. His broad-minded approach to the artform and excitement to talk about Indian music and culture would make anyone want to sit down and strike a conversation with him.

In a tete-a-tete with Tini Sara Anien, Rocky, who was at Indigo Live Music Bar recently, talks about music across the world and more.

How do you connect to Indian music?

From the traditional instrumental music to Bollywood music, I am from a place which listens to all of these. I come from the northern part of Ghana and we grew up listening to Bollywood music. Most of us would memorise the lyrics and sing along. We really identify with Indian music. It’s impressive to hear music which has a mix of  tabla, guitar and so many other instruments at the same time. This is an incredible thing and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of these Indian musicians while I am here. This will be an enlightening experience for me as an artiste.

Who are your favourite Indian musicians?

Ravi Shankar tops the list, as he put Indian music on the global map. Ricky Kej also made India popular. I am a fan of the genre and both these artistes define the classic and the modern together.

Music to you is...

Music is the highest form of expression. It is higher than language, since language defines people and culture. But music transcends cultures. It is the means by which one can create common grounds and understanding. Music appeals not only to the heart but also to the soul. This makes it a very interesting medium for peace-building and bringing people together.

Which genre do you associate to the most?

My music is called ‘Afro roots’, which is a combination of reggae, Afro beats, highlife and soul music. I am influenced by many styles but I feel reggae is my foundation. I am a student of every kind of music. Since I am here now, I know that as I move forward, I will be carrying influences from here too.

A songwriter and a singer — how different are they?

A songwriter is more introspective. He walks through culture, interacts with people, experiences things and then pens all these into melodies and lyrics. A songwriter is more of a non-participatory observer. And then steps in the singer who carries this forward and makes it come alive. I come from both worlds and love doing both these roles.

How does it feel to be in India?

Being from Ghana, a vegetarian and a fan of Indian music ever since I can remember, I’ve always felt the need to come to India at some point of my life. This is my first time here and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Experiments with Indian food...

(Laughs) I always say that if a vegetarian were to die and head to heaven, he should make sure that he passes through India. This is where the culture, food, spirituality and energy can be felt. When you come here, you will feel alive.