Founded in 1954 by Hugh Tracey, ILAM is the greatest repository of African music in the world. 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. It is currently digitizing its collections. Its journal, African Music, is nearly into its fourth decade.
ILAM aims to discover, record, analyze, and archive 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 is attached to the Music Department at Rhodes University and coordinates its Ethnomusicology Programme which offers undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ethnomusicology that include training in performance of African music.