All posts by Matthew Lavoie

The Great Dahmane el Harrachi

Posted March 25th, 2009 at 3:16 pm (UTC-4)

Ten years ago, I spent a few weeks with a friend in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. Every evening, as I walked down the final block to our apartment I passed in front of a noisy Algerian café. At one end of the café a dozen men were usually leaning against the zinc countertop of […]

Posted in Algeria

Listeners and lost nuggets

Posted February 26th, 2009 at 9:19 pm (UTC-4)

I am just about to head out of town for a few weeks and I haven’t had the time to wrap up several features I have been working on. I had hoped in particular to post, before I left, a piece on Dahmane el Harrachi, one of the greats of Algerian music, most of whose […]

Posted in Various

The Conjunto Africa Negra of Sao Tome

Posted February 10th, 2009 at 10:00 pm (UTC-4)

Every Saturday and Sunday evening, during the four months of the dry season (June through September), villages throughout Sao Tome come together to shuffle to the warm pulse of the island’s most popular dance rhythms. These weekly dances, or ‘fundoes’ (which literally translates as ‘the bottom’, as in the old blues line ‘down in the […]

Unreleased Fela and Koola Lobitos, 1965

Posted December 31st, 2008 at 3:52 pm (UTC-4)

I have recently fallen into the end of the year holiday-induced doldrums, and have not had the time to finish the research on several posts I have been working on. Nonetheless, I wanted to end 2008 with some good music (recordings that don’t need much commentary). I thought I would feature what is arguably the […]

Posted in Nigeria

Bembeya’s First

Posted December 10th, 2008 at 4:42 pm (UTC-4)

This past week marked the one-year anniversary of ‘African Music Treasures’. Thanks to all of you who have responded, over the past year, for your contributions, suggestions, and encouragement. Over the last twelve months I have tried to feature genres, artists, and recordings from throughout Africa that don’t get much attention in the music press, […]

Posted in Guinea

The Kawere Boys

Posted November 12th, 2008 at 3:53 pm (UTC-4)

Over the last two years- through the thousands of emails, phone calls and letters I have received from listeners throughout Africa- I have gained some insight into the many ways in which the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama inspired the continent. This enthusiasm blossomed into collective euphoria when, one week ago, Senator Obama was […]

Posted in Kenya

Sufi Sounds, volume four

Posted October 8th, 2008 at 4:08 pm (UTC-4)

This fourth, and for now, final, installment of African Islamic music features recordings from the Cote D’Ivoire, Benin and Nigeria. (I think I will wait until next year to present the Islamic recordings we have in our collection from Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Niger, Northern Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Egypt. My original plan to highlight […]

Posted in Cote D'Ivoire

Sufi Sounds, volume three

Posted September 30th, 2008 at 10:23 pm (UTC-4)

Our next installment of Sufi sounds from Africa takes us East to Mali, home to some of West Africa’s most iconic Muslim sites; the Great Mosque of Djenne-the world’s largest mud brick building-is an architectural masterpiece, the mystical city of Tombouctou has been a renowned center of Islamic learning since the 15th century. And although […]

Posted in Mali

Sufi Sounds, volume two

Posted September 23rd, 2008 at 10:05 pm (UTC-4)

Any discussion of Sufism in Sub-Saharan Africa has to include, if not start in, Senegal. Perhaps nowhere on the continent are Sufi Brotherhoods as pervasive as they are in Senegal, where the different orders are a part of national politics, many sectors of the economy, popular fashions, traditional and contemporary art, sports, and popular music. […]

Posted in Senegal

Sufi Sounds

Posted September 16th, 2008 at 7:05 pm (UTC-4)

Over the last forty years there has been a growing interest among European and American scholars and seekers in Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam. In particular, many musicians and music-lovers have drawn inspiration from the musical rituals that serve as roadmaps for the many Sufi paths to enlightment. Today, for example, recordings by artists […]

Posted in Morocco



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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