March 2, 2023
Willie Stewart has a lot to celebrate in 2023. Rhythms Of Africa, his annual show in South Florida, marks its 10th anniversary.
The veteran musician will salute Third World’s legacy during Rhythms Of Africa which has two shows scheduled this year â€” April 1-2 at Miramar Cultural Center.
Theme for the Third World segment is dubbed ‘Love Will Always be There’, based on one of the band’s hit songs.
This year’s guest artiste is Julian Marley, son of reggae music icon Bob Marley.
His fourth album, As I Am, was released on 2019 and received a nomination for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category.
Last year, Gramps Morgan and Marcia Griffiths performed at Rhythms Of Africa, which returned after two years due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Third World, the band in which Stewart was drummer for 11 years, turns 50.
Stewart, who left Third World in 1997, told the Jamaica Observer that “It’s only fitting to celebrate the achievements” of the Grammy-nominated band.
“When I have done the shows people see my past with Third World and they will ask how I don’t play Third World songs. They say, ‘You should, because you are a part of it’,” Stewart said.
He has incorporated some Third World songs in Rhythms Of Africa, such as Now That we Found Love, Lagos Jump and One More Time. But the event’s playlist comprises mainly African beats performed by guest artistes, musicians, and students from the Broward County school system in which Stewart has taught since moving to Florida 20 years ago.
Born in London, Stewart came to Jamaica as a pre-teen and attended Wolmer’s Boys’ School. That is where his music career started in various bands before joining Third World in 1976.
Stewart was a member of the band’s classic line-up that included co-founders Ibo Cooper (keyboards) and guitarist Stephen “Cat” Coore; singer/rhythm guitarist Bunny Rugs, bassist Richie Daley, and percussionist Carrot Jarrett.
He played on Third World’s biggest hits such as Now That we Found Love, Try Jah Love and Committed.
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