'Willie' drums up US award
ALTHOUGH he left the Third World band nearly 20 years ago, drummer Willie Stewart is still making rhythmic noise in south Florida.
Stewart is among the recipients of the 2012 Jamaica Diaspora Honours which were recently announced by Jamaica's Consul General, Sandra Grant-Griffiths.
It salutes Jamaicans who have made an impact in Florida, the southern United States and their homeland.
Stewart will receive a Vanguard Award "for significant contribution in the field of culture and entertainment arts".
"It means that I continue to do the same thing I did before, and that is to work hard and stay committed to empower our youth and communities through the power of music," Stewart told the Jamaica Observer from his South Florida home. "I feel humbled to even have been considered for a nomination."
The honourees will be recognised at 'The Journey', a gala scheduled for Saturday in Miami.
Through his non-profit organisation, Embrace Music Foundation (EMF), Stewart 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.
Stewart 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.
Other honourees include: Capt Barrington Irving; Marlon Hill; Bevan Earle; Wayne Golding Snr; Dunbar McFarlane; Marlene Williams; Clinton F Wong; Robert W. Runcie; Hazelle Rogers; Pauline Grant; Dale VC Holness; and, Robin G Mahfood.