Willie Stewart Dedicates Rhythms of Africa 2024 to Ibo Cooper

by Howard Campbell

SOUTH FLORIDA – While keeping details of the event close to his chest, lead drummer and founder Willie Stewart says the 2024 Rhythms Of Africa will be partially dedicated to Ibo Cooper, his longtime friend Third World bandmate who died in October.

The show’s 11th installment is scheduled for March 16-17 at Miramar Cultural Center, where it played to standing room only crowds last April. That presentation paid tribute to Third World which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Willie Stewart - Rhythms of Africa
Willie Stewart

“There is only one Michael “Ibo” Cooper who through his works has made a powerful impact on the world at large and has made the world a better place. We intend to have a special tribute to our brother and friend,” Stewart disclosed.


Co-Founder of Third World Band Michael "Ibo" Cooper Dies at age 71
Michael “Ibo” Cooper

Cooper, a keyboard prodigy, died from cancer in Kingston at age 71. He formed Third World with guitarist Stephen “Cat” Coore in the Jamaica capital in 1973.

Like Stewart, they were previously members of Inner Circle.

The London-born Stewart joined Third World in 1976. Along with Cooper, he played on some of the band’s biggest hit songs including Now That We Found Love, Try Jah Love and Always Around.

Citing creative differences, they left in 1997.

Stewart has lived in South Florida for almost 20 years, and has made a major impact on the development of music in the Broward County school district by teaching the rudiments of percussive instruments.

Since it was first held in 2010, Rhythms Of Africa has become a calendar event in South Florida, with several leading musicians such as Cooper and Coore performing alongside Stewart and his students.

As successful as this year’s show was, he is going all out to top it next year.

“Following on the heels of Rhythms Of Africa 2023 which was a great success, we are now ready refreshed to come again with a very important theme that we cannot wait to share with you,” said Stewart.



South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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