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World Music Guide: Western Africa

Western Africa Map

Western Africa MapMauritaniaChad*NigeriaBeninTogoNiger*GhanaBurkina FasoIvory CoastLiberiaSierra Leone*Guinea*Mali*SenegalGambia*Cape Verde

The ASU Music Library has a good selection of materials about western Africa. Try a subject search on "music africa west" for CDs, LPs, and books. For some countries (marked * and in green on the map), we have enough materials for a more in-depth study. Other listed countries (yellow on the map) have at least one recording or text.

General Sources:

The best general reference book on African music is Africa , volume one from the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Music Reference ML 100 .G16 1998 v.1). Pages 441-530 deal specifically with the music of western Africa. A CD is included with the volume.

Related Topics:

Western African Peoples:


Musical Genres:


  • Search the WNCLN catalog for books and recordings: "music benin"
  • Read about the music of Benin in the New Grove II online
  • Also search for: Yoruba (African people) - music; there is also an article on "Yoruba Popular Music" by Christopher A. Waterman in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music , v. 1 pp. 471-487 (Music Reference ML 100 .G16 1998).

Burkina Faso

*Cape Verde

The Cape Verde islands are in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Northwest Africa. The islands were a Portuguese colony until 1975 and have cultural ties to both Portugal and West Africa. ASU has an excellent two CD anthology, Cap Vert: anthologie 1959-1992 , from the Musique du monde series that reflects both influences. The islands most popular singer, Cesaria Évora, is represented with a CD entitled Miss Perfumado .

  • Search the WNCLN catalog for other CDs: "music cape verde" or "popular music cape verde "
  • Background sources:
    Lobban, Richard. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cape Verde , 3rd ed. (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1995). ASU REFERENCE DT671.C25 L63 1995
    Lobban, Richard. Cape Verde: Crioulo Colony to Independent Nation (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995). ASU MAIN STACKS DT671.C25 L62 1995
  • Read about the music of Cape Verde in the New Grove II online
  • Also, search the WNCLN catalog for more general books about Cape Verde .





Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)







Sierra Leone


Subject Guide

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Gary Boye
Erneston Music Library

Appalachian State University
Subjects: Music