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We recently had the opportunity to interview former Music Time in Africa host Matthew Lavoie via video call. Matthew began working on Music Time in Africa in 2004 as a script writer and hosted the program from 2005 until 2011. Though we joked that we wished we could have talked face to face with Matthew in Morocco, where he currently resides, we thoroughly enjoyed hearing his stories and perspectives from his time working on Music Time in Africa.

In preparation for this meeting, we perused the blog posts Matthew wrote during his tenure as host and found a treasure trove of interesting and rare African music from the Leo Sarkisian Library at the Voice of America. Each blog post is centered around a selection of music with a theme and contains information about the genre of music, the performers, and the particular recordings featured. The blog post comments are full of African music enthusiasts making requests and asking further questions about the featured pieces.

Matthew put many hours of research into each blog post, finding out as much as possible about the music and artists featured. When possible, he tracked down the artists or people who knew more about the music and interviewed them to get more information for the blogs. We learned from our interview that Matthew greatly enjoyed writing these blog posts, because they provided him with an opportunity to share African music that he did not have the time to feature on Music Time in Africa.

The current host of Music Time in Africa, Heather Maxwell, has chosen to publicize the program via Facebook. But Matthew Lavoie’s Music Time in Africa blog still provides a look into some of the treasures of the Leo Sarkisian Archive the Music Time in Africa program from the 1960s and 1970s. The Music Time in Africa blog can be found here, and all of Matthew Lavoie’s blog posts can be found here.

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