Mr Willie Stewart, the founder of Rhythms Of Africa, shares with us and with the children in the community, the drum that beats within his heart. It is simply a beautiful gift, and for this we are eternally grateful.
Tonight these children made some memories they will never forget
Someone once asked me what my favorite sound was, my answer was, “the sound of children laughing”, they then asked me what was my favorite sight, my answer was, “the sight of children playing”. Tonight at Rhythms Of Africa 2022 I had the pleasure of seeing children laugh so hard backstage that tears ran down their faces, they then played music with some of the world’s best musicians. I too was moved to tears after overhearing one teenager say to the other “do you realize we just played with the lady that sings the Electric Slide, if my grandma was still alive, she would freak out, because she just loved the Electric Slide”. Just incase they didn’t get a chance to say it, “Thank you Ms Marcia Griffiths”. Tonight these children made some memories they will never forget
How amazing it is that the same drum beats inside of all of us.
Whenever we speak of excellence in live music production, we’re generally speaking about Broadway or Los Angeles. So imagine just how proud I am to be able to boast, that one of the best musical productions in the world is curated and performed right here in South Florida. A musical journey from Africa to South America, from North America to the Caribbean. A journey that truly represents the diversity of our community and further cements how amazing it is that the same drum beats inside of all of us.
Real R&B was in the house tonight with Patrick Ulysees Pickney
I grew up in Ocho Rios Jamaica in the 80s and 90s, in a Jamaica that was heavily influenced by R&B Music, and my household was vibrant with the sounds of Earth Wind & Fire, Cool & The Gang, Charlie Wilson and many more. So imagine how divorced I was from my seat when the band went into the classic sounds of “Lets Groove” and “Celebration”, delivered like I have only heard from the original bands themselves. Patrick took us on a ride that had every one on their feet, young and old just rocking the night away. In his own words, “You haven’t heard R&B until someone with some grey hair sings it to you”. That Man could’ve sung until the morning, and we all would’ve just danced til the sun came up. After the roaring applause subsided, an elderly lady who was dancing up a storm said it best, “Real R&B was in the house tonight”
Gramps Morgan delivered an exceptionally powerful performance.
It was an absolute pleasure to hear the deep baritone of the Morgan Heritage Singer, who performed songs from his Grammy Nominated Album “Positive Vibrations” and even went into his hit song “The 23rd Psalm” featuring Buju Banton. It was evident he was channeling his father, the late great Denroy Morgan, whom he had lost only weeks earlier. From the start of his set until the last note, we felt his words deep down in our bones. To sum it up, Gramps Morgan delivered an extremely powerful performance.
Running a city and all that comes with it must be a lot, but Mayor Wayne Messam does it with a patented smile.
His love for his community is evident, especially his love for the youth. It was an absolute joy to see him and his lovely wife there, to not only endorse the event, but to take the time to embrace and support the children. Kudos to you Mr. Mayor.
This was indeed quality entertainment.
Our Consul General Mr Oliver Mair was also in the house, representing like he always does, with an energetic presence and his trademark stage show performance. I will continue to say, “I feel a Reggae meets Broadway vibe from Rhythms Of Africa”, and this show could be taken on the road, to the biggest stages across the country and even across the world. I am however very proud, extremely proud, that this magnificent production calls South Florida, and even better, calls Broward County its home. From the opening drums to the journey through Jazz, to the lovely Narrator Ms Kamila McDonald who led us on this journey, this was indeed Quality Entertainment.
Music from around The World.
The week leading up to this event was a big week for music in South Florida. I saw Koffee live for the first time, and she was phenomenal. I saw the legendary Mr Leroy Heptones Sibbles and he definitely lives up to his legend, but Rhythms Of Africa fed my cultural hunger and quenched my musical thirst like no other, and I know the diverse crowd felt it too. This was indeed music from around the world.
Those drums will beat within their hearts for a lifetime.
This is my 5th Rhythms Of Africa, I know the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, toiling for weeks to make sure the event lives up to its reputation, but I’ve also seen the smile, the pride and the pleasure in Mr Willie Stewart’s eyes as he connects with the children. I also see the confidence and the joy on the faces of the children when they connect with the audience. Soon seniors will go off to college, the younger ones will be seniors soon, and new faces will come on board, but those drums that they played tonight will beat within their hearts for a lifetime.