Click For GuitaristClick For PerformerClick For Composer & ArrangerClick For Educator

African Music Books

General Banner

African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Chernoff

John Chernoff' is a drummer who has studied drumming in West Africa. The book discusses the approach to musical study in Africa, what music is in Africa, African style a values. A book which provides an excellent insight into "African" culture ( it's too big to be generalised ! ) For the musician and non-musician.

"A masterpiece in analytical cultural exploration What begins as a primer in African polyrhythm becomes a spiritual quest to understand culture and humanity. Don't skip the endnotes in this impassioned examination of musical tonality and rhythm. Forging a tentative balance between scholarship and interpretation, Chernoff's book addresses the subconscious dynamics of culture, and unwittingly explains "race" more convincingly than the agitprop self-promoters whose explicit goal is to deconstruct the historical consciences of Africans and Europeans." anthrospeak@hotmail.com from San Francisco, CA , March 23, 1999
Paperback (October 1981).

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

African Rhythm and African Sensibility
Audio Cassette of the Book by John Chernoff

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

Africa O-Ye! A Celebration of African Music by Graeme Ewens.

A history of contemporary African Pop dealing with the continent by musical region. A costly book, but well worthg owning.
Paperback - 224 pages Reprint edition (April 1992)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

African Music Cover

African Music: A Peoples Art by Francis Bebey.

An Overview of traditional African music with descriptions and photographs by a Cameroonian musicologist and musician.
Paperback - 192 pages Reissue edition (August 1997)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

West African Pop Cover

West African Pop Roots by John Collins

Great book, which traces the roots of African Pop
Paperback - 349 pages (June 1992)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

Juju : A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)
by Christopher Alan Waterman

Now known internationally through the recordings of King Sunny Ade and others, juju music originated more than fifty years ago among the Yoruba of Nigeria. This history and ethnography of juju is the first detailed account of the evolution and social significance of a West African popular music. Enhanced with maps, color photographs of musicians and dance parties, musical transcriptions, interviews with musicians, and a glossary of Yoruba terms, Juju is an invaluable contribution to scholarship and a boon to fans who want to discover the roots of this vibrant music. A great book with very pertinent musical analysis

Click here to order Juju : A Social History and Ethnographyfrom Amazon.com

Griots and Griottes : Masters of Words and Music by Thomas A. Hale

"Everything you always wanted to know about griots . . .
Griots and Griottes brings together a great variety of information on these wordsmiths and musicians, from the 14th century to the present, from Bamako to New York City, from early travelers to West Africa to contemporary griots who perform all over the world. I have tried to write the book in a way that makes it accessible both to scholars and general readers who are interested in picking up where Roots left off." The author, Thomas A. Hale, tah@psu.edu , July 12, 1999.
Hardcover - 384 pages (March 1999)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

World Music Book Cover Image

World Music : The Rough Guide (Rough Guides) by Broughton

A Large 720 page book with acticle written by "experts" on different area of world music. There are three main sections on Africa, divided into West, Central and East, and Soouth Africa. Within each of these sections there a number of articles with recommended listening lists. Highly recommended for the musician and non-musician.

"Once you start flipping through World Music, there's no stopping. Unlike other genres, world music spans so huge a territory (the world) that there are surprises and new pleasures for everyone. The table of contents sets the tone. Laid out as a map of the world, the chapters are located directly on the map. This is followed, however, by a traditional table of contents, laid out in linear 1 to 13 format for those who don't go for the visual approach. However you chose your dive-in point, you won't be disappointed. A tremendous amount of work has gone into this guide, covering a remarkable number of subgenres and groups. Search for a group you've heard of, read up on a specific genre like klezmer or flamenco, get CD recommendations, or troll for new finds like Altan, the Irish band of the '90s, and Ibrahim Tatlises, the premier Kurdish performer. There's a wealth of sounds out there that Rough Guide makes accessible." --Stephanie Gold Amazon.com Paperback - 720 pages (March 1995)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

Black Music of Two Worlds by John Storm Roberts

A book which describes the connections between music of Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas.

Black Music of Two Worlds is the long-awaited revision of the classic book that defined the scope of world music studies, by exploring the impact that both African and European cultures had on music of the Americas. Revised for the first time since its publication in 1972, Black Music of Two Worlds now features a new introduction and a final chapter spanning the last two decades, in addition to the thoroughly updated text. Styles that did not yet exist at the time of the first edition, such as rap, Trinidadian soca, and French Antilliean zouk, now find their place here. Defining "black music" as "music created mainly by people who call themselves black, or music containing significant elements derived from Africa, whoever plays it," the author considers a wide range of musical influences, from Yoruba cult music, to Latin bands, the Calypso of the West Indies, American soul singers, and the latest trends in contemporary African music. For over 25 years, Black Music of Two Worlds has been required reading in many courses on African-American, Latin American and Caribbean-American musical cultures.
Paperback (December 1989)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

The Music of Africa by J. H. Kwabena. Nketia, J. H. Kwabeha Nketia

An excellent look at African music by some of its exponents. For musicians and non-musicians.
Paperback - 278 pages (December 1974)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

The Soul of Mbira : Music and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe by Paul F. Berliner


Paul Berliner, examimes the music and traditions of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. A easy to read book which really gets to the heart of the people, culture and music.
Paperback - 312 pages Reprint edition (April 1993)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com

West African Rhythms for Drumset - by Royal Hartigan

This is a technical drum book for the kit drummer. It covers Sikhi, Adowa and Akom rhythms of the Ahanti people, and the Gahu rhythms of the Ewe people. Everything is notated in western drum notation and it comes with a CD which demonstrates all the examples.

"My name is Dan Thress and I am the editor of this book/CD.
I would like to post the following quote from Modern Drummer Magazine (September 98) in the interview with drummer Billy Martin of Medenski Martin & Wood.

MD Do you have a particular mode of practice?

BM I highly recommend Royal Hartigan's book West African Rhythms for Drumset. I feel that if drummers would check out some of the patterns in this book they'd really get a lot out of it. What's great about it is you're playing some traditional rhythms that are adapted for drumset, which I think is important because they've been tried and tested over hundreds of years. It's good for coordination, and these rhythms are musical, they're not just technical exercises. And Hartigan talks a little bit about the history. I think it's one of the best books our on drumset stuff.

MD So this book is a real source for you?

BM Well, It's one book that I would pull out if I needed some inspriation as far as really trying to get into into playing something different.

Thanks! Please feel free to contact me if you want to find out more about it. Danthress@aol.com from Paris, France , August 6, 1998
Mass Market Paperback Book & Cd edition (July 24, 1995)

Click Here To Order This Book From Amazon.com