Music of the African Diaspora

Music of the African Diaspora

Music moves. Person to person. Community to community. Continent to continent.

The music of the African Diaspora is amazingly rich, and bears witness to the incredible journey of a vibrant, inventive, and resilient people. As Africans were transported around the world, they carried their musical traditions with them. Adapting ancestral traditions to radically new conditions, places and cultures, the Modern African Diaspora created some of the world’s most original and influential music. Often rooted in the extreme experience of universal human conditions, this music speaks passionately to people everywhere.

The threads that trace African culture through music can still be heard today in musical forms across the Diaspora, and beyond.

We invite you to listen to examples of different genres and read about the history behind the music.



African Music Past and Present

Music from Africa expresses the Continent’s varied traditional cultures. African music today is a vibrant mix of these traditions with influences from Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

Explore Songs of Life, Songs of Freedom »



African-Influenced Music in the American Vernacular

African American music is deeply rooted in African musical traditions, while reflecting the stories and sermons, the struggles and victories, the experiences and expressions of four centuries of American life.

Explore Feeling the Spirit »


African-Influenced Music across the Caribbean and Latin America

The Caribbean and Latin America have proven to be fertile ground for the development of popular music, blending African sensibilities with English, Spanish, and French forms.

Explore Moving Out »


 African-Influenced Composers

The influence of the African Diaspora echoes through the world’s music as composers incorporate the complexities of African and African diasporic musical traditions into their creations.

Explore The Written Tradition »