by Howard Campbell
[MIRAMAR] – As a member of the Third World band, Willie Stewart traveled the globe, playing to sold-out venues and recorded hit albums and songs.
He thought nothing could beat that until he started Rhythms Of Africa in 2010. That event returns April 30 after a one-year break at Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater.
For Stewart, the show transcends music.
“It means coming together of mind, body and soul, working with the young students and giving them a chance to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to see, feel and understand the power of music from a listening, performing as well as connecting with our African heritage and understanding how it played an important role in our music today,” he explained.
Like previous years, youngsters who Stewart mentored will be featured. This time around, it will be students from the Everglades High School.
Rhythms Of Africa, which is endorsed by Miramar mayor Wayne Messam, is a staple of the South Florida entertainment calendar. COVID-19 forced a cancellation of the 2020 show.
Stewart estimates he has taught over 2,000 children in South Florida the rudiments of drumming since he launched his program 23 years ago. He credits their energy for his continued growth as a musician.
“We never stop learning, it is a continuous circle, never ending. I learn from the youngest person to the oldest because we are all here to share our experience, keeping an open mind and giving thanks,” said Stewart, who played on Third World classics such as Now That we Found Love, Always Around and Try Jah Love.
Rhythms Of Africa 2022, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, also features Marcia Griffiths and Gramps Morgan.