Music Time in Africa has been on the air for over 50 years. From the first program, broadcast in May 1965, through the program in June 2012, the one thing that stayed the same was the theme song. In 1964, program director Leo “Music Man for Africa” Sarkisian had two recording sessions with the popular group, The Heartbeats of Sierra Leone, in the Voice of America African Program Center in Monrovia, Liberia. According to former program host Matthew Lavoie, Leo first heard The Heartbeats play a set at the Ducor International Hotel and invited them to come to the studio to record. They produced sixteen tracks over the two recording sessions.
“Zamsi,” the song from which the nine-second Music Time in Africa opening theme jingle is taken, was one of two original songs recorded by The Heartbeats in Leo’s sessions. It was written by percussionist Francis Fuster. Check out the full recording of “Zamsi” by The Heartbeats on Matthew Lavoie’s blog post. We don’t think you’ll be able to get it out of your head!