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Putumayo's Latest: African Blues

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.

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224 comments

Comments

Lauren Bayles says …

Love Taj Mahal and the Blind Boys of Alabama -- technically gospel, but blues to me!

joanna says …

Robert Johnson!

Kristy says …

Papa Juke! A Boulder, Colorado blues specialty :)

Luis Vargas says …

Louis Jordan is a blues beast. Please pick me.

t. bintijuwa says …

Music is my life! Were it not for music, I'd be (more of) a nutcase.....{:> Putamayo has long been a favorite label. Their "Mali to Memphis" is outstanding! I don't know how they do it, but they find the most wonderful (& sometimes unusual) music and fuse them together beautifully & seamlessly. It would be an honor to add this set to my collection. Know music, know life. No music, No life

Flora says …

I love Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, who have a blue grass feel with blues/jazz undertones. Also, I'm a fan of the Putumayo series, especially the Women of the World and the Americana CDs.

ann stock says …

I love blues and my favorite artists are the oldies: Ruth Brown and Joe Williams. I would love to get acquainted with the Putamayo selections.

jerry says …

Like the blues? How about Bonnie Raitt's new album-Bonnie's slide, Bill Frisells magic guitar, Greg Lietz' genius instrumental and all playing Bob from Time Out of Mind-Blues.

Caroline B says …

Putumayo CD fan. Love the blues. Great combination.

Carolyn Vandenbroucke says …

I LOVE Blues and I LOVE all of the Putumayo CD's. I own several.

jolene says …

All blues music is wonderful!! What a beautiful voice Etta James has.

Howell says …

I like Taj Mahal. Who doesn't?

Eugenie says …

There are so many kinds of blues. For New Orleans style blues I really like Professor Longhair.

Lisa says …

I enjoy all types of Blues ... some favs are Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, old school such as Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters and then local blues artists like Trampled Under Foot. Would be fantastic to add some world blues to my collection.

monica says …

One of my all time favorites is Luther Allison. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ReDena says …

I have to give a shout-out to some of the Ladies of the Blues: Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, and Betty Wright They could even make a heartbreak sound good.

nik says …

I first heard Taj Mahal a few weeks ago on public radio...totally besmittened by his music! I also love Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Los Lonely Boys, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi and of course BB King!

Dory Young says …

The first group that got me really liking the Blues was The Fat City Band from Boston. They performed on a Cruise Ship that went out from there. I have to say that the room was filled during all performances! I'm sure the performers on these CD's are just as talented and look forward to finding out!

Jenny says …

We love the Putamayo cds and this sounds great! Thanks for the opportunity.

Jennifer McKee says …

I don't know . . . maybe being born in Chicago, I was born with the blues. Best experience ever was as a young girl watching the late great Muddy Waters perform live at Navy Pier. He was the "Hoochie Coochie Man"!

Robin says …

I recently discovered Tinariwen--they have a great sound!

Dan says …

I love Putumayo's CDs and originally found their stuff by accident. I want to get my hands on every one they have!

Emily Cernoia Barkley says …

What's not to love about the blues? My favorite jazz/blues singer is Billie Holiday.

Ha says …

Loving the Tedeschi Trucks Band these days but haven't forgotten my other faves. Looking forward to hearing this African blues CD.

erinn oliver says …

Putumayo CDs are great- we have quite a collection. An African blues album would be a wonderful addition! We love it!

Stacey says …

Wonderful way to get lost in music! Earthy and soulful!

Gail Simpson says …

Keb Mo is my favorite.

Jean Pulley says …

Putamayo CD's are a rich cultural treasure. My granddaughter has recently been studying the continent of Africa in school and this would be a good resource of the wonderful music from there. We'd all enjoy hearing these.

Lataisha says …

B.B. King of course. I had the opportunity to see him live for the first time 2 years ago when he was around 84 years old. It was such a blessing to see him and hear his fabulous stories while still playing his various guitars.

Hunnie butter says …

My favorite is Muddy Waters.

Judy says …

My only trip to Chicago: bar-hopping at night, listening to fantastic blues bands, memorable!

Lynn says …

I do enjoy the blues here and there but don't have a particular favorite artist. I LOVE West African Music; my favorites are Baba Maal and Youssef N'Dour.

Megan says …

I love the blues and that led me to the Putumayo albums which led me to so many world artists I now listen to daily. My absolute favorite is "Cover the World", but "Blues around the World" is definitely #2.

bettina orlando says …

There is just one Lady that sings the blued; Billie Holiday

Kathy A Miller says …

I have a collection of Putumayo CDs. My fave blues singer is Robert Cray.

NettoSpaghetto says …

I have several Putumayo CDs -- each one is terrific. I would love to expand my collection with this set.

holly cooper says …

You can't go wrong with Robert Johnson.

Judy says …

Love the old-timers (Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and earlier, etc.) So glad that folks are taking an interest and preserving this important cultural history of our country.

a8ala says …

Guy Davis!

Renea says …

Love Sunday night blues on a warm breezy evening sitting on the back porch. My husband and I relax and get lost in music. Favorites include Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Elmore James, BB King.

Todd says …

The blues set would be a great addition to the putumayo I already enjoy.

Barb says …

My favorite blues-ish artist is LEON RUSELL - his music makes me very happy!! I love blues and would LOVE to win this CD set. THANKS

Peggy says …

Love the blues. It has always been a way to express what could not have been expressed through traditional channels. Plus, it's interesting to hear the African version.

Lissa Hogan says …

love blues!

John says …

Blues can truly encompass several genres, from traditional iconic B.B. King to more "modern" Eric Clapton. I enjoy them all.

Francisco says …

Blues are the soul and heart of music.

Leslie says …

Buddy Guy

Andrea says …

B.B. King does the Blues proud

Allen says …

Sounds like a great collection. Would love to hear it.

Michele Heroux-Bynum says …

The blues are like the beating of a heart...

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