Heather Maxwell
Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award winning radio program "Music Time in Africa" and is the Africa Music Director for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master's degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

All posts by Heather Maxwell

An interview with “The White Zulu”

Posted April 14th, 2014 at 6:28 pm (UTC+0)
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“Is Johnny Clegg still active?” That was the question I asked myself when I first heard he was coming to give a concert in Washington. A quick look at johnnyclegg.com answered that question. Johnny and son Jesse, who is his opening act, are touring North America for three months of non-stop shows from New York […]

Posted in South Africa

Mali’s Trail Blazers of Traditional Music

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 5:37 pm (UTC+0)
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Today’s post takes an exciting departure from my typical in-studio interview sessions at Voice of America headquarters. This time, I brought Voice of America with me to the University of Maryland to record an African music event entitled “Music, Mali, and Citizen Diplomacy“. I also sat on the panel of this unique performance and discussion […]

Posted in Mali

Mali’s Mamadou Kelly Sticks to Classic Sahelian Sound

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 8:40 pm (UTC+0)
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Mamadou Kelly was a name I hadn’t heard of before, but his new CD was compelling. The music in Adibar, released in 2013 by Clermont Music, made me stop everything I was doing at the time and just listen. There are no bells and whistles to this music; no novelty, no modern twist. Kelly’s sound […]

Posted in Mali, Uncategorized

Two Big Cissoko Releases

Posted January 7th, 2014 at 6:47 pm (UTC+0)
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Sousou Cissoko and her husband Maher Cissoko are a musical couple who definitely drum, or more appropriately strum to their own beat. In 2011 I saw them perform in Mali and admired the way they captured their audiences. Their music was tight and original too, but we didn’t meet back then so I was excited […]

Posted in Senegal

A Soulful Session with Tosin

Posted December 16th, 2013 at 5:51 pm (UTC+0)
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Washington D.C. is an exciting city in many ways. It experiences a steady flow of high-stake dramas — the 2013 government shutdown, the bumpy roll-out of the Affordable Care Act; the world’s first exhibition of yogic art, the naming of baby panda Bao Bao; fierce  lunchtime food trucks, local hip-hop music known as go-go, and […]

Posted in Nigeria

Noura Mint Seymali Makes Mauritanian Music International

Posted November 19th, 2013 at 4:24 pm (UTC+0)
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On September 29th 2013, Noura Mint Seymali — a leading female vocalist and ardine player from Mauritania — came to VOA to record a session with me on Music Time in Africa.  Noura was on tour in the U.S. promoting her latest CD Azawan II, a cutting edge, traditional electro-fusion style of Mauritanian music.   […]

Tartit’s Tuareg Women: Strong and Independent

Posted October 31st, 2013 at 2:28 pm (UTC+0)
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As part of the 2013 Caravan for Peace Tour, Tartit was the second Malian group to come through Washington D.C. on July 29th. This post features my interview with them in French — with English subtitles. It was a thrill to see Disco again (Fadimata Walet Omar) after ten years. If you haven’t learned about […]

Posted in Mali

Bassekou Kouyaté & N’goni Ba Wows Washington with Wah-wah…Among Other Great Things

Posted October 15th, 2013 at 4:47 pm (UTC+0)
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A tidal wave of Malian music surged upon the eastern coastal cities of the United States last month and, lucky for us, it hit Washington D.C. with beautiful, overwhelming force. Amadou and Miriam performed a killer, June 18th concert at the 9:30 Club followed by the female-led Tuareg group called Tartit on July 29th. Then […]

Posted in Mali

Thirty Minutes with Oliver Mtukudzi

Posted August 13th, 2013 at 2:14 pm (UTC+0)
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On July 23rd, the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi and his group The Black Spirits were my invited guests on Music Time in Africa. They’re on tour promoting Sarawoga, Oliver’s 61st album to date. I met the whole band as it rolled into the VOA headquarters parking lot. But Oliver entered the building alone, just he and […]

Posted in Zimbabwe

Grooving with the Garifuna Collective

Posted July 30th, 2013 at 4:40 pm (UTC+0)
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My sound technicians at Studio 4 weren’t thrilled that I was obliging them to squeeze 7 musicians into the space that accommodates a maximum of 4. “We won’t be able to get everybody in the shot” they kept saying, shaking their heads. But this band from Belize, Central America  insisted they needed everybody to sound […]

Posted in African Diaspora

About

About

Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the Africa Music Director for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987

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