The IAM Transcription Project

The valuable but neglected cultural heritage that exists in Indigenous African Music (IAM) is in urgent need of preservation. This problem stems from the colonial and apartheid eras which lacked appreciation for the unique and beautiful music of the African diaspora. IAM has rarely been documented, and when it was, the research was placed under the auspices of comparative anthropological and ethno-musicological studies that focussed on the role music played in its communities.

These studies rarely notated the music so that for musicians around the world could understand, study and perform the music effectively. Music performed on indigenous instruments such as the uhadi, umakhweyana, xitende and mbila, traditional music for rites of passage such as weddings and funerals, and even children’s songs, are in danger of becoming extinct together with some of the practitioners of these unique African sounds.

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Behind the Scenes

We have been honoured to have the opportunity to transport our music from the dusty archives of musicologists, and the fading memories of our peoples, and to place it online, acknowledging it as an art form worthy of international recognition.

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