When it comes to Ghanian singer-songwriters, reggae and African roots artist Rocky Dawuni is most certainly a staple — not just of the genre, or of the country, but of world music on an overall scale. The influential artist is credited with starting the Independence Splash festival in Ghana, celebrating independence from the United Kingdom with the power of music, and has released five critically acclaimed studio albums since his 1996 debut. Now, Dawuni is back with his sixth release, Branches of the Same Tree.
As always embracing the good vibes and reggae backdrop of his inspiration, Bob Marley, Dawuni manages to innovate upon this sound with the introduction of many unconventional instrumental turns. “Black Star” features hefty electric guitar that paints rock and blues inflections unto the record, while debut single “African Thriller” invokes a bombacious horn section with funky rhythmic guitar licks akin to a tune by Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder. The LP wraps up with the gorgeous acoustic number, “Island Girl”, invoking an infectiously feel-good nature into listeners long after it’s over. All in all, Dawuni takes another step up the proverbial latter with Branches of the Same Tree, spearheading world releases in 2015 with indelible style and grace.