Showing Archived Posts

Staff Benda Bilili Shakes Our World

Posted December 13th, 2012 at 7:55 pm (UTC-4)

I’d never heard of the Congolese group by the name of  Staff Benda Bilili until an envelope containing their new CD landed on my desk. I always get a little shiver of excitement when I get one of these padded envelopes, because I know there’s new music inside from somewhere in Africa. So many places, […]

1Beat Brings New African Music to Washington

Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 2:56 pm (UTC-4)
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A trio of musicians from different regions of Africa joined me in VOA’s Studio 4 here in Washington for some good conversation and music. The artists (from left to right) are Nigerian Kayode Kuti on bass and vocals, Kenyan Kato Change (pronounced CHAN-GAY) on guitar, and Mozambican Helio Vanimal on vocals and body percussion. They […]

Papa Ntita Albert, Mbuji Mayi, 2011

Posted April 14th, 2011 at 11:31 pm (UTC-4)

I have just returned from a month in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that confirmed my long held conviction that the DRC is the most musical country on the planet. Often called the beating heart of Central Africa, Kinshasa―despite the city’s many problems―remains obsessed with music. From thousands of churches, from the bars of […]

The Harlem Band of Kinshasa

Posted September 15th, 2010 at 8:44 pm (UTC-4)

Most of the time I have found recently to devote to this blog has, unfortunately, been devoted to working on a redesign of the site. This has meant that I have had less time to finish the several long posts I have promised, and that I have been working on. The good news is that, […]

Bakongo roots from the D. R. Congo

Posted April 8th, 2008 at 11:37 pm (UTC-4)

I will never forget the first time I heard the group ‘Konono # 1’ from Kinshasa. It was back in the fall of 1995, when I working in a record store in Cambridge, MA. One afternoon a friend-and fellow music enthusiast- came in to browse through whatever new releases had arrived that day, and as […]



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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