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Music: Drumming Traditions of West Africa

Selected resources for students of music


International Encyclopedia of Dance

In West Africa dance is often inseparable from drumming.  This is particularly so in Yoruba Dance  where the dancers must understand the musical structure and phrasing of the drums and match their stepping to the drum rhythms. These articles, accompanied by comprehensive bibliographies containing scholarly sources, offer connections between culture and musical practice. 

Drumming Traditions of West Africa - Sound recordings


African Music from Sounds at the British Library

Decca West African recordings mainly circa 1948-1958   
The majority are from Ghana

Arthur Morris Jones Africa Collection   
 Arthur Morris Jones was a missionary based in Zambia from 1923 until the early 1950s.  He also recorded in Nigeria and Gana
Giles Swayne Senegal Collection
Nearly 20 hours of Jola music recorded in January and February 1982


West African Drumming Performance Resources

Many comprehensive encyclopedias contain articles on West African music genres and are often accompanied by extensive bibliographies which provide further resources.  Try the entries for Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana in Oxford Music Online.

Link to the full Oxford Music Online (also known as Grove Music Online) and other resources below:


West African Drumming - Literature