Showing Archived Posts

The Dust and Sheen of South African Hip Hop

Posted October 22nd, 2014 at 9:47 am (UTC-4)
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When I first heard the current hit South African song “Caracara” I knew I wanted to meet this crew. If there’s a winning recipe for feeling good, at least for 3:52 seconds, “Caracara” is it. The lazy, urban tempo, the sexy flow, and simple catchy hook is infectious. One listen drove me straight to Youtube […]

Posted in South Africa

Jazz in Johannesburg

Posted October 5th, 2014 at 4:03 pm (UTC-4)
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I arrived in Jozi late Tuesday afternoon September 30th, stiff and exhausted from the fifteen-hour flight. But after a good night’s sleep and fresh morning coffee, I was ready to discover the music of the city and, oh how I did. By around 9:00 p.m. that evening I was watching these cats pictured above, mesmerized […]

Posted in South Africa

An interview with “The White Zulu”

Posted April 14th, 2014 at 6:28 pm (UTC-4)

Johnny Clegg and son Jesse, who is his opening act, are touring North America for three months of non-stop shows from New York to California. My next question was, “What can I ask this icon that the world over doesn’t know already?” When I told a West African friend of mine that Clegg was coming […]

Posted in South Africa

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 […]

Interview with Lira

Posted February 11th, 2013 at 5:28 pm (UTC-4)
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On Monday January 21st, our nation’s capital celebrated the inauguration of our President, Barack Obama, for a second term. Our Voice of America headquarters is located just a few blocks away from the Capitol Building where the swearing in ceremonies and ensuing parades took place. American celebrity singers, 2013 Grammy Award winners Kelly Clarkson, Beyoncé, […]

Posted in South Africa

Sipho’s Newest Big Hit

Posted August 6th, 2012 at 6:34 pm (UTC-4)

A few days ago I caught wind of some music news in South Africa. The legendary musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse just “dropped” a new hit; but the “hit” wasn’t music, and the verb wasn’t “drop”–it was “pass”. At age 61, Sipho had just passed the matric, the equivalent to the US high school diploma. Sipho […]

Posted in South Africa



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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