by Howard Campbell
[MIRAMAR] – With anxiety around COVID-19 subsiding, Willie Stewart decided the time was right to re-launch his Rhythms Of Africa this year. The 2021 show was cancelled due to the pandemic. But the event made a rousing comeback at Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater on April 30.
Stewart, a strong cast of artists and musicians covered the evolution of Jamaican music to the delight of a strong audience.
“I am thrilled and full of gratitude from the response and turnout of Rhythms Of Africa 2022. I must thank our wonderful, loyal fans, friends and family for the wonderful support,” said Stewart. “It was great to see the smiling faces and everybody dancing and singing along to their favorite songs and artists.”
Those artists included singers Patrick Ulysees Pinkney, Gramps Morgan and Marcia Griffiths who delivered well-received sets. They were complemented by a band from Everglades High School, who Stewart has taught.
He made special mention of those who ensured the comeback event was special.
“I must thank Everglades High School. Special mention to band director Elijah Thomas and the wonderful students, my board members of Embrace Music Foundation who worked tirelessly to make it happen. The city of Miramar, Mayor Wayne Messam, city commission and staff for their partnership and support and a big shout out to Klass-Ex for a wonderful job,” said Stewart.
The former Third World drummer staged the inaugural Rhythms Of Africa in 2010. As its name implies, the show is an homage to the percussive patterns of the Motherland that has inspired genres such as mento and reggae in Jamaica; calypso and soca in Trinidad and Tobago and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Stewart, who moved to South Florida 20 years ago, has taught over 2,000 students in the region’s school system.