Heather Maxwell is an ethnomusicologist and experienced music professional in West Africa and the United States. In addition to her on-air talent and production, Heather writes a companion blog Music Time in Africa featuring in-depth interviews, reviews and live performances of African musicians. Searchable by country, the blog offers original music video and audio clips of live sessions as well as trustworthy news and information about artists ranging from fresh break-outs to venerable legends. You can also watch original Music Time in Africa videos and TV features for Africa 54 and Music Alley on her YouTube channel.
Produced by Heather Maxwell
June 02, 2023
Award-Winning Sierra Leone Female Artist, Activist Visits VOA
Fantacee Wiz, a multi-award-winning folksinger, activist and poet from Sierra Leone is in Washington for the eighth edition of the Sierra Leone Association of Artists and Musicians Award, SLAAM. Wiz visited Voice of America, along with co-founder of SLAAM and VOA host of the music program African Beat, David Vandy, for a sit down with the host of Music Time in Africa Heather Maxwell.
May 26, 2023
Africa Day Celebrated Through Music
The African Union celebrated its 60th anniversary May 25, marked annually as Africa Day. A major music concert organized by Selam, a non-governmental culture organization, in collaboration with the A.U.’s division of Culture and Sports was held in Adds Ababa, Ethiopia. VOA’s Heather Maxwell spoke to reporter Bill Odidi for more.
April 23, 2023
Entertainment Report: Bassekou Kouyate and his Family Band, 'Ngoni Ba'
The internationally renowned musician Bassekou Kouyate and his family band Ngoni Ba performed live at the Voice of America in Washington. Bassekou is the ambassador of the ngoni– a Mande musical instrument that is unique to the griot traditions dating back to the 13th century in the Empire of Mali. VOA's Heather Maxwell sat in on one of the songs performed, “Abe Sumaya”.
April 07, 2023
Entertainment Report: Mokoomba Makes Their Music Comeback & More
VOA's Heather Maxwell shares the latest music news from Africa including musician Stromae canceling his upcoming concerts, citing health concerns, and Mookomba announcing their comeback to the world stage later this year.
March 31, 2023
Entertainment Report: Ngoni Ba Band Begin World Tour in the United States
Africa 54 Entertainment correspondent Heather Maxwell presents a round up of the latest African music news from around the world. Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo takes the prestigious Sweden-based Polar Music Prize, South African amapiano rapper Costa Titch collapses and dies on stage in Johannesburg, and Malian family band Ngoni Ba begin their world tour in the United States.
March 26, 2023
Emerging African Musicians Make Big Gains
Emerging artists in Ghana and Malawi have made some big headway in recent months. In northern Ghana, singer-songwriter IsRahim gave the region’s first large-scale concert of 2023 at the Tamale Sports Stadium. And popular Malawian singer Keturah made her first international debut in the United States. VOA's Heather Maxwell reports.
March 19, 2023
Vintage Performance: Acoustic Africa Musicians Sing 'Lomdieu'
Continuing the celebration of Women’s History Month, host of Music Time in Africa Heather Maxwell brings back a vintage performance by three of Africa’s greatest modern musicians: Kareyce Fotso of Cameroon, Dobet Gnahoré and Manou Gallo of Ivory Coast. The three traveled to the United States in 2013 for the third Acoustic Africa tour and later performed ”Lomdieu,” a song which criticizes the practice of forced marriage common in some regions of Africa, in VOA studios.
March 10, 2023
Tanzanian Doctor Juggles Saving Lives and Bongo Flava Stardom
She's a medical doctor and a popular bongo flava singer. VOA's Heather Maxwell caught up with Tanzanian multi-career-juggler, Dr. Fatuma Said Msafiri, also known as Phetty, about her passion for saving lives and entertaining crowds with her music.
March 04, 2023
Mandingo Ambassadors Perform 'Camara Mousso' Live
The Guinean front men of the New York-based band Mandingo Ambassadors perform “Camara Mousso” for Heather Maxwell’s Music Time in Africa. The group’s leader Mamady Kouayet explains the meaning and history of the beloved song live from VOA studios in New York.
February 06, 2023
South African Musician Dedicates Grammy Award to Africa
South Africa had a big win at the Grammys Sunday with Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman and Zakes Bantwini winning best global music performance for "Bayethe." Speaking to VOA's Heather Maxwell from Los Angeles, Zikode, known to many by her hit song "Jerusalema" with Master KG, says that her win is dedicated to all Africans.
February 03, 2023
African Artists Nominated for Upcoming Grammy Awards
The annual U.S. Grammy Awards ceremony is taking place Sunday in Los Angeles, California, and several African musicians have been nominated. VOA hosts Heather Maxwell of Music Time in Africa and Red Carpet's Jackson Mvunganyi highlight some of the nominees including Nigeria's Burna Boy and Tems, Ghana's Rocky Dawuni, South Africa's Nomcebo Zikode, Uganda's Eddy Kenzo and others.
January 28, 2023
Nigerian Musician Ropes in Orchestra in New Release
Music Time in Africa host Heather Maxwell catches up with Tosin Aribisala, Nigerian drummer, composer and educator, on his newest works, "The Big Illusion” and “OGF." Aribisala shares with Maxwell the inspiration behind the tracks.
January 14, 2023
Legendary Guinean Guitarists Perform on Africa 54
Legendary guitar kings of Guinean music Mamady Kouyaté and Mamadi Kourouma join VOA's Heather Maxwell and perform at our New York studio. The diasporan duo lead the multi-cultural band The Mandingo Ambassadors that has been a local favorite in Brooklyn since 2010.
December 30, 2022
Acapella Group Ladysmith Black Mambazo Visits Washington
South Africa's acapella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo held various performances in the United States in 2022, including in Washington, DC. Heather Maxwell, host of VOA's Music Time in Africa had a chance to meet the band and watch the performance which she described as the most breathtaking and emotional of all the live shows she reported on in 2022.
December 22, 2022
'Dogo From Togo' Performs Live on Africa 54
VOA’s Heather Maxwell introduces music from guitarist, songwriter and band leader Massama Dogo, aka “Dogo from Togo,” who performs live in the Africa 54 studio in Washington. Massama’s recently released debut self-titled album captures the sound of Togo with festive rhythms and hypnotic voodoo melodies.
December 11, 2022
Entertainment: Drop the Needle Challenge
VOA's Heather Maxwell takes us inside her weekly Music Time in Africa program where audience members play Drop the Needle – an African music listening challenge. This week’s contestant is Kukua Droxa in Ghana. Plus, Maxwell shares highlights from Yemi Alade’s recent live performance in Montreal, Canada.
December 02, 2022
Habib Koité's Bamada Debuts Latest Music At Washington Show
Multi-award winning Malian guitarist, vocalist and composer Habib Koité and his band Bamada (Mouth of the Crocodile) gave a performance in Washington D.C last month, debuting several songs off of his latest album Kharifa, and many old favorites. VOA's Heather Maxwell spoke to Koité backstage on his music and the current climate of musical expression in Mali.
November 11, 2022
Nigerian Singer Yemi Alade Speaks Music, Fashion and Tour Life
Afrobeats hit-maker and multi-award winning Nigerian singer Yemi Alade speaks with Heather Maxwell in a virtual interview from Paris, France. At the debut of her 2022 world tour, Alade packed concerts at Olympia Hall in Paris and MTELUS in Montreal, Canada at the city’s annual Nuits d’Afrique Festival. Heather caught up with her in between the two concerts earlier this week.