Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Putumayo's Latest: African Blues

By Dan Storper, April 28, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Dan Storper

Read on for a chance to win a 6-CD set from Putumayo’s blues and African titles. Dan Storper is the CEO and Founder of Putumayo World Music.

The blues has long been about storytelling, about raising a voice from the margins and edges of American life. As it spread from the Deep South to Chicago and beyond, the blues incorporated a powerful musical groove that has influenced music around the world.

Now, musicians are reaching across the Atlantic and finding that they have a common story to tell in shades of blue. Putumayo’s African Blues, now available in most Whole Foods Market® stores, chronicles the return of the blues to its African motherland.

It also demonstrates the burgeoning connections between West and East African musicians and performers from the blues’ traditional heartland in the US, as well as converts in Europe — and shows how these connections are revolutionizing traditions on both continents. Taj Mahal, together with the Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar, gets down and deep in a slow-burning meditation on the beauties of Dhow Countries. Mali’s Issa Babayogo brings his characteristic, sparkling knack for gritty, melodic grooves.

The ever-evolving Playing for Change band — this time featuring hip desert rockers Tinariwen and Keb Mo — reveals how globally malleable a good old 12-bar blues can be. For me, it’s like two halves of a circle. The blues’ roots are in Africa but emerged and evolved as a powerful musical style in America. Now they’re reuniting in new and exciting ways. When we worked on Mali to Memphis, we recognized the powerful connection between the bluesy music of West Africa and the Mississippi Delta.

That began my search for American and African blues and blues-influenced music and led to a series of successful CDs including Mississippi Blues, American Blues and Blues Around the World. Putumayo will contribute $5,000 from sales of African Blues to the International Rescue Committee in support of their humanitarian work helping refugees to survive and rebuild their lives. For more information, visit www.rescue.org.

Are you a blues enthusiast too? Got a favorite blues band or artist? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a 6-CD set from Putumayo’s African and Blues series. Comment by May 17th for a chance to win. We’ll choose one comment at random to receive the CDs.

Category: Contests, Music




Karena Zevely says ...
How exciting! I love the blues and African music. It will be wonderful tomhear the two intermixed!
04/30/2012 1:04:59 AM CDT
Melinda says ...
I am so excited to hear about this CD! I am very enthusiastic about Africa - and to hear that this CD encorporates African music with blues is wonderful!! B.B. King is one of the best Blues artists in my opinion.
04/30/2012 12:03:44 PM CDT
Candy says ...
Jeff Beck is the best.
04/30/2012 12:52:50 PM CDT
Anne Zuparko says ...
Oooh, I'd love this!
04/30/2012 3:16:53 PM CDT
Mary Capps says ...
I absolutely adore the collaboration between Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate! The best of both worlds!
04/30/2012 3:17:14 PM CDT
mary says ...
Eddie Kirlkand
04/30/2012 3:21:35 PM CDT
MarathonGorilla says ...
I came across Congo Acoustic from Mose Se Sengo 'fan fan' a few years back while browsing a CD store. It was one of the best Jazz/blues albums I ever bought - every time I listen to it I feel cheered up.
04/30/2012 3:23:36 PM CDT
Rina says ...
Can't beat some classic Muddy Waters!
04/30/2012 3:37:12 PM CDT
Kerri Gibbons says ...
I love the blues and African music , and this set of CD's would be an exciting way to share fun and excellent music with my son- so he can grow to love it too
04/30/2012 3:38:14 PM CDT
Liz C says ...
My son loves the blues! He doesn't have a favorite artist yet but he definitely wants to explore.
04/30/2012 3:42:41 PM CDT
Tim says ...
Greatly looking forward to hearing this music! While not strictly blues, I've recently found the musical duo, Jamestown Revival. They are very definitely blues-inspired. Their first album is available to be streamed from their website at jamestownrevival.com Enjoy!
04/30/2012 4:42:11 PM CDT
Amy says ...
Love Taj Mahal & psyched to hear this new compilation!
05/01/2012 7:44:58 AM CDT
Rachel says ...
I have tons of favorite blues groups, but they're mostly American-based. I'd love hear and learn more about African blues--what I know of that genre (such as Ali Farka Toure) I absolutely love!
05/02/2012 5:08:10 PM CDT
Sandy says ...
interested for my daughter, who has been to Africa 3 times.....she'd love this!
05/02/2012 5:18:45 PM CDT
Michelle says ...
This is wonderful! I was just lamenting to a friend that "From Mali to Memphis" is out-of-print. I can't wait to hear this compilation!
05/02/2012 5:35:56 PM CDT
lara says ...
love 'em all
05/02/2012 5:36:25 PM CDT
GB says ...
I have been desperately needing/wanting to add new music to my collection, but funds have been low. This could change the soundtrack of my life right now!
05/02/2012 5:40:58 PM CDT
Bridget says ...
I love the blues and recently was introduced by my brother in law to African music as he studied it at Berkley School of Music in Massachusetts - can't wait to hear the two groups combined!
05/02/2012 5:42:55 PM CDT
KellyM says ...
Love Billie Holiday's "Lady Sings the Blues" - so beautiful!
05/02/2012 5:43:12 PM CDT
Mo says ...
Have not listened to a lot of African blues, but I am a fan of Buddy Guy and that says it all!
05/02/2012 5:44:57 PM CDT
hj says ...
I love the sound of the blues but don't really have a favorite. I prefer the soulfulness of women singing the blues. Plus, I love African music! I own about 40 Putumayo titles and even play them often in my classroom. Anything from this label is amazing!!!
05/02/2012 5:46:21 PM CDT
Adam G says ...
One of my favorites would have to be Keb Mo. Fantastic musician and keeping blues alive.
05/02/2012 5:47:26 PM CDT
RoseD says ...
It's that glorious mix of blues soul and African drums that hits the bottom of your stomach, and leaves you hungry for more. We know several major artists try and get the mix right, some more successful than others, and so far I've really liked what I've heard from your collection, and want to hear more!
05/02/2012 5:47:52 PM CDT
Sue S says ...
You can't beat Taj Mahal or Tab Benoit.
05/02/2012 5:50:57 PM CDT
Jean says ...
NPR just did a review of this set and was highly complimentary and enthusiastic about the CD.
05/02/2012 5:51:16 PM CDT