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Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) musicians

Use this guide to explore the musical traditions, compositions, and scholarship of Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) individuals.


This section contains links to free and subscription resources with a wide range of tools for finding information about BIPOC musicians and music practices, including biographies, bibliographies, and primary source materials.

Full text and bibliographic resources

See our full-text and bibliographic databases (includes subscription and free web resources). Each electronic resource contains important information about BIPOC musicians and music practices.

Free web resources

  • Archives of African American Music and Culture
    • A repository of materials covering a range of African American musical idioms and cultural expressions from the post-World War II era 
    • Collections highlight popular, religious, and classical music
    • Houses extensive materials related to the documentation of Black radio
  • African American Art Song Alliance 
    • Explores the contributions made by African Americans to art song, as composers, performers, and scholars
    • Includes a list of published works, consisting of books, videos, recordings, and scores
    • Discover links to a wide range of resources for research and performance
    • List of composers; profile includes their biography and media files
  • Afrocentric Voices in "Classical" Music
    • Focuses on classically trained American singers and composers of African descent and on the vocal music forms they influenced, especially opera and art songs, including Negro spirituals composed for concert performance
    • Provides biographies of the artists and an extensive bibliography of relevant literature
  • Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano
    • Provides access to Ibero-American digital cultural heritage
    • Includes a digital collection of more than 25,000 sound recordings, featuring the wide variety of Latin American music genres
    • Holds a digital collection of thousands of scores from a wide variety of vocal and instrumental genres
  • The Black Music History Library
    • Collection of books, articles, documentaries, films, and podcasts about the Black origins of traditional and popular music dating from the 18th century to present day
    • Resources are organized chronologically and by genre
    • Collection considers the term “Black music” broadly, seeking to address any instance in which Black participation influenced musical creation or innovation across the diaspora
  • Black Opera Research Network (BORN)
    • Platform for conversations on the history, experiences, politics, and practices of Black opera
    • Includes several resources, including a list of published literature on the topic and a selected list of operatic works
  • Canada Black Music Archive
    • Provides important evidence of past and continuing contributions of Black Canadian musicians
    • Digital archive is currently under development, with new accruals forthcoming
  • Center for Black Music Research
    • Holds materials highlighting the role of black music in world culture with materials originating or representing black music in the United States, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean in a variety of formats: personal papers, scores, sheet music, audio-visual materials, photographs, books, periodicals, and commercial recordings
    • CBMR collection guides are available online
    • Staff respond to research inquiries about concert music and can provide repertoire suggestions as well as background information
  • Early Music America
  • Inclusive Early Music
    • Provides resources for teaching music history before 1750 more inclusively
    • Access their bibliography (Zotero Group library) and shared assignments
  • Indigenous Studies Portal Research Tool
    • Database of full-text electronic resources, including articles, e-books, theses, government publications, videos, oral histories, and digitized archival documents and photographs
    • Focuses primarily on Indigenous peoples of Canada with a secondary focus on North American materials and beyond
  • Latin American Choral Music
    • Compilation of information about choral music by Latin American composers from 1550 to the present
    • Provides an extensive list of Latin American archives and some details about their music holdings
    • Links to websites, choral and musical organizations, research institutes, universities and libraries, databases, and e-periodicals
  • Music of Asian America Research Center (MAARC)
    • Strives to increase knowledge and awareness of Asian American history and experience through collecting and conducting research on materials related to music-making by Asian Americans
    • Includes playlists, lesson plans, and podcasts, accessible from their Learning page
  • National Museum of American History
    • American Music collections document America's diverse popular musical traditions and performances
    • Includes Guide to Duke Ellington Collection and Jazz Oral Histories
    • Latin Jazz exhibit contains useful resources, such as a glossary, bibliography, and discography, about the rhythms and traditions of Latin Jazz
  • Native Drums
    • Website devoted to the rich heritage of First Nations culture and music in Canada
    • Includes many resources, including glossaries, videos, image galleries, interviews, and articles
    • Teachers' tab includes pedagogical resource kits for teachers of grades 4-12 (downloadable resources best viewed using Chrome incognito or Safari browsers)
  • Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
    • Nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution
    • Provides access to audio recordings and educational materials to strengthen people's engagement with their cultural heritage and to enhance their awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of others

Location and contacts

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Music Library Staff
Marvin Duchow Music Library
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3
Subjects: Music

Resource key

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library use
  • Catalogue record

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