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Heather Maxwell / Press

“Rwanda: Heather Maxwell Sings Her Heart Out At the Afro Jazz Jam Session DESPITE HAVING to catch the next flight after her performance, Heather Maxwell put on an amazing performance during the Afro jazz jam session on Saturday evening. The sizeable audience at the Goethe Institute was electrified by Maxwell's performance. She was accompanied by some of Kigali's best jazz talents like Ben Ngabo, Sam Mugisha and Mighty Popo among others. Heather did live renditions of Miriam Makeba's Malaika and PataPata, like they were her own compositions. Among her original compositions, she performed Malado, Body and soul and her latest single Mango tree, which is already rocking radio airwaves throughout the country. "I have had several performances but I enjoyed this performance the most because they have a very lively, warm and friendly audience. They showed me much love when I sang Malaika and PataPata," she said.”

"Heather Maxwell visit thrills Kigali artistes"

“Music Time in Africa, Voice of America’s longest running radio program, gets a new host this week, as Heather Maxwell takes over the award winning show.”

“Maxwell can give me 20 lashes with a wet noodle if I'm wrong, but I'd stake my freelance wages that much of her show is derived from the traditional West African griot or story/history-telling culture of music. Inherent in that nature is a loose, carefree vibe even when the singer is dealing with serious subject matter. The inviting songs evince the same spirit as camp songs or minstrel tunes, but with a much more primal rhythmic vibe. Maxwell successfully evoked that loose, relaxed vibe out of the players, singers, and audience. She incorporated skits into the songs to help illustrate the meanings behind the words. There was comedy, dance, call and response, and improvisation. In between songs, Maxwell shared her vast knowledge of the language of the songs by explaining their meaning. All that flavor was being served up on a hot plate in the form of Inner Rhythm's cosmic chemistry.”

"She has a funky, dance-oriented, African-influenced style that has incorporated well with the Latin style we had going– it has come together successfully."

“Afrika Soul, started by ethnomusicologist Heather Maxwell, was the only performance group from the United States invited to participate in Mali’s multi-day cultural festival this year, which featured almost 20 African music groups of international acclaim.”

“This American musician (hence the less-than-Malian name) once served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, during which time she wrote many songs in Bambara. During her performance she sang several songs in English and French, but the crowd really loved the songs that she sang in their native tongue. The most interesting thing about the songs that she sang, were the themes – healthy drinking water and vaccines (can’t you tell that she was a Peace Corps volunteer)! The Malians loved her music, which incorporated their local language, several traditional musical instruments and the voice of a Malian woman – she has mastered the Malian style of singing.”

“Not too many U.Va. professors are likely to turn a Monday afternoon lecture into a dance party in order to get their point across, but then ethnomusicologist Heather Maxwell knows from experience that music makes for a powerful teaching tool.”