Showing Archived Posts

Debo Band Revisited

Posted June 15th, 2016 at 12:48 pm (UTC-4)
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On Friday, May 20th the Debo Band performed at Tropicalia in Washington DC. I caught up with the bandleader and saxophonist Danny Mekonnen just before soundcheck. I’d met most of the band four years earlier when they came to DC to promote their debut album Debo Band. I was excited to hear them again. The […]

AfroJazz Vocalist Loide Jorge

Posted January 29th, 2016 at 1:21 pm (UTC-4)

Loide Jorge is a true daughter of the Diaspora. She was born in France to parents from Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, and then raised most of her life in the US.  Ms. Jorge’s music and vocal style is an organic confluence of her diverse experiences and influences. Her sound and spirit are unique. Enjoy this 30 […]

Grooving with the Garifuna Collective

Posted July 30th, 2013 at 4:40 pm (UTC-4)
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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

Interview with D.C. Diaspora’s Finest Duo: Mongezi Ntaka and Kuku

Posted May 15th, 2013 at 5:24 pm (UTC-4)

  I got a call from a friend recently who said she had a couple of musicians she wanted me to meet. Their names are Mongezi Ntaka and Kuku. I hear boisterous background chatter and laughter. She tells me she’s with them rightnow and do I want to talk to them? My mind is making […]

Habib Koite and Eric Bibb Show Brotherly Love

Posted April 9th, 2013 at 6:59 pm (UTC-4)

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. […]

African Diasporan Musicians in Washington D.C.

Posted February 27th, 2013 at 7:51 pm (UTC-4)

African music performance in Washington D.C. has been been relatively quiet this past month. With the exception of Lira’s appearance for the Presidential Inauguration in January, all’s quiet on the tour circuit front since November 2012. This lull in activity gave me the opportunity to dig deeper into our local diaspora music scene. On February […]

Posted in African Diaspora

Nigerian Diaspora: Abiodun Koya Sings “Edelweiss”

Posted January 15th, 2013 at 3:58 pm (UTC-4)

I got a tip last week that a Nigerian “opera” singer was going to be in town and was interested in appearing on Music Time in Africa. Opera? Really? Abiodun Koya came into the studio a few days later and gives us the real deal on her career in this video clip. Turns out she […]

Afropean Women Raise the Bar in Contemporary African Music

Posted November 26th, 2012 at 9:02 pm (UTC-4)

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 […]

An Interview with the Debo Band

Posted August 10th, 2012 at 6:17 pm (UTC-4)

On July 14th I had the chance to meet the American-Ethiopian Debo Band. The drove to our VOA studios in Washington, DC, directly from New York to squeeze in an interview before their next concert in the District at the U Street Music Hall. The two pieces that the bare-boned quartet performed in the studio, […]



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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