Founded in 1954 by Hugh Tracey, ILAM is one of the world’s great repositories of African music. A research institution devoted to the study of music and oral arts in Africa, it preserves thousands of historical recordings going back to 1929 and supports contemporary fieldwork. The majority of its collections are digitised and accessible on its website Its journal, African Music, is into its seventh decade.

ILAM aims to preserve, record, analyse, archive, teach, publish and promote the music of sub-Saharan Africa, with the object of establishing a theory of music making in Africa and assessing the social, cultural, and artistic values of African music. ILAM collaborates with the Music Department at Rhodes University and coordinates its Ethnomusicology Programme which offers undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ethnomusicology. The courses include training in the performance of African music.



  • Historical Recordings by HT

  • Music of Africa Series

  • Dave Dargie Collection

Video and Dvd

  • Video and Dvd

Photo Collection

Welcome to the International Library of African Music (ILAM) online Photo Archive. This site was made possible with grant funding from South Africa's National Heritage Council (NHC).

In 2007, with the NHC grant, ILAM undertook the digitisation of its photographic archive in conjunction with Africa Media Online . In October and November 2007 the Africa Media Online team relocated to ILAM and in conjunction with ILAM staff, managed to digitise over 11,000 images including negatives, slides and photographs of various formats. Working with ILAM staff and Professor Andrew Tracey, they also managed to capture the metadata associated with the majority of the images. Africa Media Online then retouched a selection of 1,000 images to ensure that they are at publishing standard, and then created this web site powered by their MEMAT online digital library system.

Currently this web site allows you to search a selection of the best of the picture collection. In the future you will also be able to search the music collection. This web site allows you to purchase use rights to images and receive high resolution downloads for publication purposes.

Should you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.