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Putumayo = Whole World Music

Around here, we feel like Putumayo World Music and Whole Foods Market kind of grew up together. In celebration of our 30th birthday this year, we asked Dan Storper, founder and president of Putumayo, to write about how it all came to be. Post a comment by February 7th with your favorite kind of world music or Putumayo CD and you might just win a copy of their upcoming release, Rhythm & Blues. putamayoPutumayo World Music was created as a result of a happy series of coincidences. I must say that serendipity (destiny?) has played a major role in much of my professional life. Back in 1991, on my return from Bali, where I was designing and buying clothing and handicrafts for my wholesale and retail business based in New York, I stopped off in San Francisco for a day. On the way to visit a museum exhibit in Golden Gate Park, I heard an incredible African band called Kotoja performing in front of a few hundred people of all ages and backgrounds who were dancing to their wonderful Nigerian-based Afro-beat music. I was struck by how the music had brought these different types of people together on a beautiful San Francisco day in the park. Back in New York a few days later, I walked into my Putumayo clothing and handicraft store and heard some intense heavy metal music coming from the speakers. I knew that it was time to address music in my stores. I put together a special mixed tape combining some of my favorites like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and others with African, Brazilian and other world music I had started collecting. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Everyone started asking about the music. danA few weeks later, I found myself at a conference of the Social Venture Network, which had members at the time including Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, Ben & Jerry, John Mackey, Whole Foods' CEO, and the founder of Rhino Records, Richard Foos. I started talking with Richard about releasing a CD of world music I was playing in my stores and he agreed to partner with us on the first CD, which came out in 1993. I discussed the idea with retailers, including John Mackey, at the Social Venture Network. At first there was some skepticism. But once we had our first CDs, we started approaching individual Whole Foods stores to try out our music. From the beginning it worked out well and the staff seemed to like the idea of being able to present great world music for adults and, later, kids as a way of introducing people to the world through music. Eventually, I met Walter Robb, Whole Foods' Co-President, who became a fan and introduced us to many of the regional managers and helped us in the process of having Putumayo sold at most of the Whole Foods stores. Today, Whole Foods is our biggest account. More than 20 of our CDs include recipes and we've noticed the connection between food and music, and we even have a food-based CD for children called Picnic Playground. People play our music at home parties and have themed dinners in which French, Italian, Latin or other music is played and the recipes by well-respected chefs in our CDs are used. We're also pleased that through the sales of CDs at Whole Foods and other retailers, we've raised more than $1 million to contribute to non-profits doing good work in the regions where the music comes from. (Note: In response to the unprecedented tragedy in Haiti, Putumayo is giving all receipts from their French Caribbean CD to The Red Cross. Five of the songs on this collection are from Haiti.) putamayo1Now that I live in New Orleans, I've been happy to introduce great American music to the world. Our upcoming Rhythm & Blues release features many of my favorite soul artists from New Orleans and beyond. It's a throwback to my youth when I loved the Four Tops, Manhattans, Otis Redding and many others. It's coming out soon, but if you'd like to win an advance copy, just post a comment below and let me know what's your favorite world music or Putumayo CD. Two comments will be selected at random to receive a free copy of our Rhythm & Blues CD. Post your comment by February 7th to be eligible. Enjoy the music!

02/10 - Congrats to our randomly selected winners of the Putumayo Rhythm & Blues CDs!

Samir As far as Putumayo’s back catalogue is concerned, “Women of The World: Acoustic” and “Music from Chocolate Lands” are two of my favourites. Listening to these will guarantee you lower blood pressure and make great listening whether you are stuck in traffic or just chillin’ in your home. Putumayo’s label is full of some of the most fascinating and original music produced on this planet.

Claire Calhoun My first CD was New Orleans Christmas…I love it…gave several as gifts. There are so many that I love and enjoy…World Groove is one. Just heard some of the blues CD’s and hope to add them to my collection soon. Fabulous music….makes me happy and wanting to dance!

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307 comments

Comments

Christina Garabedian says …

Celtic Tides is my favorite Putumayo CD. When I was in college, our dance instructor would allow us to choreograph to this music.I remember it being such an incredible experience being on stage and bringing a group of strangers together in unity.

Ron Goss says …

I love hearing the music of the world on these CDs. There are some great songs and interesting compositions. Keep up the good work!

Brunilda Hernandez says …

I have loved Putamayo music for awhile now. One of my favorites is Nuevo Latino which has a great mix of Latin music from many cool place I have yet to visit. Thank you for the experience. Bruni

E. Brooks says …

I have loved Putamayo CD's forever and have shared them with others whenever, wherever possible. We will be checking out the French Caribbean one to serve as background music for our contribution to the Haiti relief efforts; Our Week long Helping Hands Community Service project with the approximately 400 student in our Elementary School. Now, that's the far reaching hand of global music!

simone says …

I love Putumayo music. I have Cuba, Caribe Caribe!, Latino! Latino and others...They are inspiring, energizing or relaxing and just make you happy! I used to play them when I had a retail store and people loved them, now I use them for my client's when I do visualization exercises!

cris says …

My husband and I happened upon a group from the Andes who were playing the most ethereal flute (and other instruments) music in the open area of a shopping plaza in Monterey, California many years ago and we have been intrigued with that sound ever since. I love the combination of world music sounds (a blend, just like people) and always believe that music can bring together the most disparate beings--it's a shared experience. Looking forward to experiencing the new CD Rhythm & Blues.

Sanjeev says …

At the last Greek Festival I discovered the bouzouki. It has an incredible and complex sound.

Roni says …

My family's favorite Putumayo CD is World Playground. My daughter loves to fall asleep listening to it. Not only the world music you pick is so great, the CD covers are just beautiful!

Linda Askey says …

Putumayo is to music what ethnic cuisines are to my vegetarian life. It is the spice of life. Thank you for producing these amazing CDs

kathy says …

They are all great and I love teaching children with the cds. Everytime we learn about a new country or region we bring in the music and the food. Right now we are learning how to Salsa Around the World. It gets our hips swinging, cha cha cha...

Ingrid says …

I like the Latin sounds! Good to shake the hips ;) thank you for compiling these wonderful albums!

Michele Peters says …

My favorite CD: Afro Latino. Turn it on and the body can't help but move!

Michelle Rulmont says …

Love all the CD's by Putumayo, we listen to the French one almost everyday!

ginny murray says …

this is exciting and can't wait to hear this on my iPod, car stereo, house stereo and hear it throughout the house and backyard stereo system. thanks for offer and I want to win.

hj says …

My daughter loves to listen to these when she comes shopping with me

Nicole says …

I am a huge Putumayo fan! You've created such an amazing collection of music...music that I, otherwise, would not have been exposed to. I've enjoyed many of your CD's and have loved sharing them with my children! Thank you!

Libby says …

I love listening to your New Orleans Brass CD! It reminds my of my grandfather everytime I play it. One time, I even used it to keep my friend and I upbeat while painting the inside of her house :) You provide a great way to expose anyone (who will listen) to some possibly awe-inspiring, fun-filled, exotic, moving and overall wonderful music. Thank you!

Elle Elmore says …

Hearing the Portuguese-tinged Brazillian beat makes my day and transports me right back to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. 8sigh* Thank you Putumayo!

Mandie says …

AOL Radio's "World Music" station is top-notch. It's great to be able to hear music from so many different places...

Kaela Zielinski says …

I am a Milwaukee Public School teacher! I play Putumayo World Music everyday while my students eat breakfast. They are developing a new appreciation of the world around them through music! It's really awesome. Our favorites are French Cafe and Sahara Lounge!

Angelika says …

music from the andes.....mostly instrumental - best to relax and imagine you're there; and of course any salsa - brings back the energy and good mood:-)

laura d says …

putumayo latin lounge is def my favorite, although i own several putomayo cds. i love them all. it's so much fun listening to knew genres and artists.

Faleen says …

I love Israeli music and really enjoy classical but tend to enjoy trying new sounds.

T Moore says …

Putumayo music is what I call "happy" music. I can't sit still when I'm listening to it. My favs include Latin Lounge, Latin Jazz, Women of Jazz. (BTW, it was hard to narrow this list.) My husband and I listen to our selections every Sunday morning: they lift our spirits and our appreciation of the world through the notes of music. Thanks for bringing the world to us through our speakers.

Robin Morgan says …

The CD's open us up to a whole universe of sound that many of us have not yet explored! Thanks!

lacey says …

Hi! Bravo. One of my favorites is Braziilan Lounge. Keep up the good work and cant wait to hear more! Is there any other place to get them besides whole foods and online?

Janice Lonergan says …

Happy 30th Birthday Putumayo World Music! This is such a great assortment of world music to chose from and the global influences are fabulous! My entire family loves music and it great to have these CD to share with everyone at home and gatherings. I can't pick just one favorite - the Latino CDs are wonderful and we have Salsa, Cafe Cubano, Cuba, then there's the Blues/Jazz - Women of Jazz and Blues and Jazz around the World are both great! I could go on about the fabulous CDs. Keep up the great work and here's to another 30 years of great world music! Peace! Janice in Seattle, WA

HJ Hays says …

Zydeco-amazing!

tye block says …

I would love to check out this CD. Big music nut with a number of faves country rock, folk, latin and reggae.

Lizzie says …

I love Putumayo! I have many Putumayo CD's, including African Groove, Dreamland, Gypsy Groove, Latin Lounge & World Reggae (which I am listening to as I write!). Putumayo is the next best thing to actually traveling and visiting all of these wonderful places, people, and cultures around our world. It is such a joy to have these mixes, which represent the colorful variety and sounds of our shared human experience, as well as everything that we all share in common--the joys of friendship and great music! And just as Putumayo is synonymous with World Music, Whole Foods is likewise synonymous with World Foods, bringing its customers, not only quality and wholesome locally grown foods and ingredients, but also the best foods and ingredients selected from the farthest reaches of the world, for us to experience at home. It may not be very practical for us to travel to Colombia or Bolivia for fair trade beans of pure, rich, raw rainforest cacao, jet to Madagascar for those aromatic bourbon vanilla beans and then zip over to the Island of Mauritius to pick up a bag of that deep, earthy Muscovado sugar that makes our homemade chocolate cakes sing--but we don't have to! That Whole Foods and Putumayo have formed this wonderful alliance is no surprise. That shared vision and vibe that has brought them together is what draws us, as fans, to them as well. Bless up, folks at Putumayo and Whole Foods! And keep stirrin' it up!

Deborah K. Ward says …

My favorite world music is a Scottish CD by Bonnie Rideout called "Gim'e Elbow Room." These are marvelous tunes. The title song is about children, who call out for respect of their personal space -- their time, thoughts and feelings. A joy to share with family.

Janice Hamasaki says …

I love Putamayo compilations. My favorite one is "Music From the Coffee Lands." Check it out!

Joyce says …

I think my favorite so far has been the French Cafe CD; I would visit a tea house where that CD was often playing and it did so much for my mood, even on the greyest days! My twins love the Putumayo Kids CDs; the selections are always so lovely and approachable.

Oakley says …

My favorite Putomayo CD is Arabic Groove. I dance in a bellydance company, and we have used every track on that cd to perform to! I'd love love love to see you produce more great Middle Eastern music! Thanks for the good times!

Lindsay Jara says …

I love the World Reggae CD. I immediately begin to dance and it gets me in a really happy mood. I am a personal chef and as I listen to it on my MP3 while I am cooking, it inspires me to come up with tropical and Caribbean recipes.

robyn says …

love these.......

Leanna says …

I have lots of CDs, but I love the French Cafe CD the best! The collection of songs are so romantic and enjoyable to listen to. Hi highly recommend this CD.

michelle torricelli says …

My favorite Putumayo CD is Acoustic Women of the World. I love so many of them. We play them at ten thousand villages where I volunteer.

Olga says …

I love this type of music and would like to have a Putumayo CD.

Donna LaGraffe says …

I started collecting Putamayo CD's years ago, when I lived in Arcata and heard the music on the public radio station. I love how Putamayo has brought little-known international music and musicians into our homes!

Denise says …

Can't beat those jazz albums - particularly Jazz Around the World.

Dianne W. Fuzek says …

Just bought a CD player for our granddaughters - 4 and 5. They are loving and dancing to all kinds of music. I think I will share with them.

Karen says …

I love your CD's - I play them for my clients during their reflexology sessions frequently and I often get comments and requests for the name of the CD. Keep them coming!

chloe says …

love the Jewish album. Learned the golden peacock song My parents had never heard it but the sound was right

Romain says …

I'm a big fan of Putumayo CDs. I especially like Paris Café and Music from the Coffee Lands.

John Z says …

Bring on the margaritas

Vi says …

I have a number of CDs, courtesy of Putomayo. I can't go by a display without trying out the latest! It's opened my eyes to all types of music. Love the lively tunes and the way some languages just roll across the tongue!

noreen says …

Sahara Lounge, Arabic Groove i love a lot of your cds i take them in to school so the children can hear music from around the world.

Miriam B. says …

I like many of the Putamayo collections. One of my favorites is the Rough Guide to the Music of Portugal; on that CD I fell in love with Margarida Bessa's "Fala Da Mulher Sozinha," but it's all-around a fine CD.

Peggy says …

I love the chance to try out new, different, non-mainstream sounds!

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