Have you ever wondered what became of the group Third World ? Well! I had the pleasure of catching up with former Third World Percussionist – Willie Stewart through a phone conversation. Willie is the founder of Solution in Music, he has shared his brilliant talent in rhythm and percussion with kids through his foundation.
In my conversation with him, I realized that his excitement was not in past tales of his world travels, multiple Grammy nominations nor his celebrity status twenty-two years ago as the drummer for Third World band, but rather, his passion to bring music to people – especially children. “It’s not about me and what I can play, he said, “It’s about using the programme to make the people feel like they achieved something – to be inspired, to be motivated.”Children are our most treasure asset, we must love, protect and nurture them so that they may realize their dreams.
Although, he left the Third World band nearly 20 years ago, drummer Willie Stewart is still making rhythmic noise in South Florida. His commitment to continue to work hard and stay committed to empowering our youth and communities. The power of music has definitely earned Willie recognitions in Jamaica, the U.S and in South Florida, where he currently reside.
Willie is among the recipients of the 2012 Jamaica Diaspora Honours which were recently announced by Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant-Griffiths. Through his non-profit organization, Embrace Music Foundation (EMF), Willie conducts percussion workshops in schools and communities.
EMF’s latest programme is Rhythms of Africa/Music Around the World, seven two-hour workshops that unite musical concepts such as rhythm and tone, with ethnic studies and language. The London-born Stewart started his career in the early 1970s as a member of the popular Inner Circle band, then toured with Byron Lee (his older brother) and the Dragonaires.
Willie joined Third World in the mid-1970s, playing on the band’s landmark albums such as 96 Degrees in the Shade and Journey to Addis, as well as the hit songs, Now That we Found Love and Try Jah Love.
I asked Willie ‘ do you see yourself coming to perform in Nigeria any time soon? It’s been in the radar, he replied, “I had a good time in Lagos, Nigeria and would like to give something back to the people of Africa.