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Mali’s Trail Blazers of Traditional Music

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 5:37 pm (UTC-5)
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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-5)
1 comment

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

Tartit’s Tuareg Women: Strong and Independent

Posted October 31st, 2013 at 2:28 pm (UTC-5)
12 comments

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-5)
3 comments

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

Habib Koite and Eric Bibb Show Brotherly Love

Posted April 9th, 2013 at 6:59 pm (UTC-5)
6 comments

A new album is out called “Brothers in Bamako”. The brothers are Malian music veteran Habib Koite and African-American folk musician Eric Bibb. The album cover speaks volumes about the music and their relationship:  sharing a bench outside of Habib’s home in Bamako, Habib picks a banjo guitar and Eric strums a big acoustic guitar. […]

At Peace – Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 3:11 pm (UTC-5)
1 comment

On March 1st, 2013, Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal came to Washington D.C. on tour to promote their new album, At Peace. Ballake is a celebrated kora player from Mali. Segal is an accomplished cellist from France. Kora and cello and are both string instruments — 21 and 4 respectively. The kora’s strings are plucked […]

Posted in France, Mali

Malian Music Cancelled for 2013 Festival sur le Niger

Posted January 23rd, 2013 at 3:59 pm (UTC-5)
4 comments

As an update to my previous post on the projected fate of Mali’s 2013 music festivals, this quick news post is to let you all know that the Festival sur le Niger has officially cancelled all music programs. See here for the press release in English.    

Posted in Burkina Faso, Mali

Mali’s Music Festivals on the Brink

Posted January 16th, 2013 at 8:51 pm (UTC-5)
2 comments

I know a graphic artist/music promoter who works for one of Mali’s premier international music festivals, the Festival sur le Niger (or Niger River Festival). We were Facebook messaging the other day about the upcoming festival (February, 2013 .) Marisa Segala and I first met last year at the festival’s 8th edition located in the […]

Posted in Mali

Afropean Women Raise the Bar in Contemporary African Music

Posted November 26th, 2012 at 9:02 pm (UTC-5)
19 comments

One of the things I learned quickly when I started doing my Music Time in Africa radio show last April was that there always seems to be a shortage of good female artists. “How can this be?” I asked myself and colleagues in our English to Africa Division. I know from experience living on the […]

Fatoumata Diawara: Carrying on the Wassoulou Tradition in under 3 Minutes

Posted November 1st, 2012 at 3:13 pm (UTC-5)
3 comments

Fatoumata Diawara (pronounced JA-WA-RA) came through Washington D.C. recently on her first US tour. I’ve been playing selections from her 2011 album entitled Fatou on my radio show for the past couple of months. Her lyrics are deep and well-written, exploring social issues that matter to Malians especially, but also to people in many other […]

Posted in Mali
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About

About

Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the African Music Editor 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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