Music Resources

Teaching about African Music

There are multiple reasons why you should incorporate music in your curriculum. Music can be an entry-point to understanding culture, politics, history, and geography. Here are some resources that support your inclusion of African musics in the classroom.

                                      International Library of African Music

I.L.A.M. aims to discover, record, analyze, and archive the music of sub-Saharan Africa, with the object of establishing a theory of musicmaking in Africa and assessing the social, cultural, and artistic values of African music. It is one of the largest repository of African music in the world.

The Music Time in Africa Archive takes audiences through an on-line experience of vintage Voice of America radio programs broadcast from 1966. The collaborative project with the University of Michigan digitized nearly 900 audio recordings and associated scripts of the weekly radio program. The archive now features 691 radio programs with a combination of program script and broadcast audio,
Exploring Africa Music Lessons developed by Michigan State University. This module is comprised of four learning activities that explore African musical traditions; engage students in discussion on why it is important for them to know and understand other musical traditions, in this case, those traditions from Africa and their connection to other traditions in the world today; investigate as a class and in small groups the functions of music in African society and how different economic, political and religious practices of all people in the Americas, and of European colonizers in Africa, have made an impact on the nature of Africa’s musical practices today.
Smithsonian Folkways: Find lesson plans on music from Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe as well as lessons examining connections between West Africa and the Caribbean. Lessons are for multiple ages and grades.


Filoumoris, a site that features over 15,000 songs from over 900 artists in the Indian Ocean.



Afropop Worldwide is the Peabody award-winning public radio program and multimedia platform dedicated to music from Africa and the African diaspora. Hosted by one of Africa’s best-loved broadcast personalities, Georges Collinet, and produced by Sean Barlow, the radio show is distributed by PRX to over 100 stations in the U.S., as well as stations in Europe and Africa. BU Ethnomusicology Ph.D. candidate Kumera Zekarias produced a recent episode of Afropop Worldwide on Oromo music. Listen to the episode here


Art and culture often are deep expressions of identity and politics. In various contexts in Africa, music has been a potent instrument of social movements. Featuring Bode Omojola, Five College Professor of Music,  and Nathaniel Braddock, musician & teacher, this episode produced by Primary Source with the support of the BU African Studies Center explores recent historical and contemporary examples of protest music throughout Africa. It highlights how musicians in social movements expressed their anticolonial, antiapartheid, and anti-corruption sentiments through music. 



Making Activity: Building Mbiras with your students

Building kalimbas with your students: a set of resources for introducing mbiras and kalimbas to your students.