Rhythms of Africa - Music Around the World (Miramar)

Willie's Dream about the Children

After playing successfully with Third World for 23 years, Willie Stewart's desire to work with children and give back to the community, coupled with his expertise in the world of percussion instruments stirred a desire in his head and heart to help heal - the world! - with music. He is not alone.

I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride, to make it easier. Let the children's laughter, remind us how we used to be.

-- Whitney Houston


Rhythms of Africa - a musical odyssey that creates a point of inspiration for children who have never played drums before, and leads them into the confidence to perform in a professional show.

Rhythms of Africa introduces the audience to an historical, geographical and musical litany through percussion drums, the sounds of children drumming in tandem along with talented world-renowned musicians, all coming together in style, sound, poetry and harmony.

One such event in February 2010, orchestrator and musician Willie Stewart introduced 60 plus novices to percussion through a build up of classes preceding the show - one hour every Monday for ten weeks at the Miramar Civic Center. These children would learn something about themselves they never knew – that they could play an instrument, in cohesive harmony with other members like themselves AND with worldly talented musicians.

The performance at the end was a prize to the children and a surprise to their parents; a gift to the audience; and a salute in memory of a journey that many made across an ocean to a new and challenging world.

Selected from the Early Childhood Program at Miramar and from the ASPIRA program, these 50 courageous little musicians were schooled to create a mixture of sounds and vibes through different ages, interests and hearts. Also, inspired and welcomed by professional musicians, these young protégés learnt intrinsically that big things are possible.

The result was a power-packed lecture, performance and concert that took the audience on a magical, musical journey from Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad and the U.S. The international sounds of the percussion brought a resonance through time and space in working towards unity, peace and harmony.

This evolution of music, history and the human soul offers a natural, melodious sound in celebration. Through history, the plight of humanity as it has been held in captivity and freed from captivity has always looked to music to calm, for mental and emotional survival and for release; and then, once free - to celebrate. Rhythms of Africa – Music Around the World is a Celebration!


"People could feel emotions, feel themselves, participate, forget about their worries of yesterday and realize how music can take you on a magical journey, and the healing sounds transform body, mind and soul.
"This show is a full representation of everything that I do. It is a show, by the community, for the community; therein lays its power."
"With excellence and style, it is a loving tribute to our ancestors and our culture.
"To those who made that journey across the Atlantic...
"We Salute You."
-- Willie Stewart

The Rhythms of Africa-Music Around the World Program is a model example of an art program that successfully combines music skills training for youth and broad based, community-wide education. The Program is designed to teach youth introductory rhythmic musical skills and illustrate the journey of music from Africa and across the continents over several centuries. The performance was free to the community and the 800-seat theatre was packed. Over 300 people waiting in line had to be turned away.

The performance was also under the patronage of the Jamaican Consular General and sponsors included Costco and Air Jamaica. It was also shown internationally through online television broadcasting.

Grace Kewl-Durfey
Broward Cultural Division



Long before the Civil Rights era and Harlem Renaissance, African civilization made great strides in academia and the arts. It was the mission of Rhythms of Africa – Music Around the World to show how African rhythms infused and influenced our lives as links for the past and the present, demonstrating how drums have gone beyond the Diaspora. Patrons experienced a cultural journey in the revolutionary influence of African rhythms embedded in other cultures throughout the world carried there by a people in their travels of slavery.

NBC News - Channel 6

The Sounds

West Africa –Nigeria - (pronounce: Funga Alafia)
TALK Drum - Used for Communication

A Welcome Song


 talk-drumThis joyful song from West Africa calls you to a land of warm-hearted people and natural beauty - a song of welcome, peace, and gratitude – a 'call and answer rhythm natural to this region.





West Africa - Griots of Ghana/Ivory Coast
DJEMBE Drum – Used for Ceremony and Healing

djembe-drumWelcome Beat - Four part voice Rhythm – Gota Music
A griot is a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, considered a repository of oral tradition. Although they are popularly known as 'praise singers', griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip, satire, or political comment.

East Africa - Tanzania
NOGAMA Drum – The Dancing Drum


North Africa – Doumbek

doumbekThe Doumbek African drum is a goblet or chalice shaped drum originating in North Africa. Belly Dance









A South Africa – The African Click

Clicks are speech sounds found as consonants in many languages of southern Africa, and in three languages of East Africa. Examples of these sounds familiar to English speakers are the tsk! tsk! (American English) or tut-tut (British English) used to express disapproval or pity, the tchick! used to spur on a horse, and the clip-clop! sound children make to imitate a horse trotting.







Brazil - Samba
Pandeiro Drum and Surdo Drum – Heart Beat Instruments

brazil-drumBatucada – Road March - Brought by the Moors to Rio de Janeiro and became one of the largest carnivals in the world. Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. Portuguese also influenced in Brazil.



















Cuban Clave
Bongo and Congas

congasClave is a Spanish word meaning 'code', 'key,' as in key to a mystery or puzzle, or 'keystone,' the wedge-shaped stone in the center of an arch that ties the other stones together. Clave is also the name of the patterns played on claves; two hardwood sticks used in Cuban music ensembles. A five-stroke clave pattern is the heart of Afro-Cuban music.





Jamaican Music
Kete Repeater Drum

ketteThe music of Jamaica includes Jamaican folk music and many popular genres, and the journey from mento, revivalism ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub music, dancehall.
Jamaica's music culture is a fusion of elements from the United States (rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul) and Africa. Reggae is especially popular through the international fame of Bob Marley. Jamaican music's influence on music styles in other countries includes the practice of toasting, which was brought to New York City and evolved into rapping. British genres such as Lovers rock and jungle music are influenced by Jamaican music


Trinidad – The Steel Pan and Calypso

steek-drumSteel pans (also known as steel drums or pans, and sometimes collectively with musicians as a steel band) is a musical instrument and a form of music originating from Trinidad and Tobago. The pan is a pitched percussion instrument, tuned chromatically made from 55 gallon drums that usually store oil. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music.












New Orleans – The Blues/Big Band Era/Swing
Introduction to Snare

snareSnare drum was used in second line drumming in New Orleans for the after-celebration of funerals. The conventional drumset was introduced during the big-band swing era in the 1920's and 1930's. Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre created primarily within the African-American communities in the Deep South of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.







Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as (in terms of the varying music styles) to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music.

Audiences may range in numbers from 300 – 2000 plus, depending on the venue.
(Suitable for large indoor/outdoor venues, theaters & auditoriums) duration of shows are normally 90 minutes – 2 hours.

An Event To Remember!

On Saturday, February 27, 2010, more than 800 patrons experienced a cultural journey in the revolutionary influence of African rhythms embedded in other cultures throughout the world carried there by a people in their travels of slavery. In the first interpretation of this unique workshop and celebration, audiences experienced a musical journey. And found that Nigeria to Ghana, Ivory Coast, North Africa to Brazil, Cuba, New Orleans to Jamaica to Trinidad to Florida, the rigorous performances of the Cuban clave and the Brazilian samba, the brass bands of New Orleans and Griots of Ghana, the revolutionary and pulsating beat of the Caribbean all have one thing in common – DRUMS – and inherent rhythm.

City of Miramar dignitaries in attendance included: Mayor Lori C. Moseley, Vice Mayor Troy R. Samuels, Commissioner Winston F. Barnes, Commissioner Yvonne Garth, Commissioner Barbara Sharief.

This event was held under the distinguished patronage of Consul General of Jamaica Honorable Sandra Grant Griffin

The Musical Team

"I chose musicians of the heart," says Stewart

Carl McDonald – Vocals
Sabrina Williams – Vocals
Melissa Stokes – Spanish Vocals
Nicole Yarling- Violin and Vocals
Jesse Jones – Saxaphone
George Goddard – Steel Pan
Jaime Hinckson - Young Keyboard Player
Steve Lashley – Bass
Robert Johnson – Lead Guitar
Miguel Russell – Congas/Bongos & Percussion
The Tallawah Mento Band
Nicholas Pairman – Dancer
Miramar Percussion Orchestra and Little Angels- City of Miramar Early Childhood Program and ASPIRA Group


Air Jamaica
All Graphic Designs
Broward Cultural Division
Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by
Broward Cultural Council
Cultural Foundation of Broward County
Don Parchment Photography
Fernandez, Dr. DJ
Fast Sign
Grant – Eddy Grant - ICE Records (ICE removed as its own- added to Eddy Grant)
Hilton Garden Inn
Jamaica Tourist Board and Information Services
Jamaican Consul General
Lyons, John & Amanda
Miramar Cultural Center
Miramar and Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce
Morrison, MD, Michelle A.
Paradise Saloon
Seaboard Marine
Steady Image
Unique Creations – Liz Burns

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