Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Putumayo's Latest: Arabic Beat

By Dan Storper, August 12, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Dan Storper

Thanks to everyone who shared their favorite Arabic musician for a chance to win a CD set of Putumayo's Arabic Beat and Arabic Groove. Congratulations to Andrea Wolf who was our randomly chosen winner!

Read on for a chance to win a CD set of Putumayo’s Arabic-themed titles, available in most Whole Foods Market Stores. Dan Storper is the CEO and founder of Putumayo World Music.

Have you ever wandered the open-air markets in a North African or Middle Eastern city? The music that seems to radiate from the stores and stalls is infectious and prompts a search for the same music to enjoy in your own home.

Memories of a trip abroad can now live on with Putumayo’s newest release, Arabic Beat, a collection that chronicles the musical creativity of Arabic musicians today. The album revels in artists rarely heard in the West: the unsung stars and hit- makers who shape the region’s music.

Inspired by music from across the globe but true to Arabic music’s deep roots, the sounds of raï’s rolling funk and the shimmering pulse of raqs sharki (“belly dance” music) tell the story of a thriving contemporary scene that stretches across the breadth of the Mediterranean.

Wild-eyed bohemians and visionary songwriters, belly dancers and R&B crooners, child stars and Idol-style contest victors, the artists on Arabic Beat each have their own story. But, most have one thing in common: They are household names in certain corners of the Arabic world, but have yet to reach many listeners in the rest of the globe.

The follow up to Arabic Groove, Putumayo’s best-selling album, Arabic Beat features artists that will be new discoveries for even long-time Arabic music fan. These discoveries include the rocking Berber roots of Morocco’s Jalal El Hamdaoui and the funky grooves of Algerian performer Cheb Amar. The collection also reflects how the Arabic beat echoes in major centers of immigration in European cities like Marseilles (home of Watcha Clan) and Barcelona (where Nour is based).

The songs on Arabic Beat are united not only by the mix of Arabic music with Western influence, but also by the spirit of liberation and change that inspired the recent protest movements across the region. Though often singing of love and good times like artists everywhere, many of the musicians on the album also thoughtfully and poetically offer their perspective on everything from the difficulties of immigration to the desire for freedom. These tracks highlight the positive, hopeful side of Arabic culture.

Do you enjoy the music of North Africa and the Middle East? Who is your favorite Arabic musician? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a CD set of Putumayo’s Arabic Beat and Arabic Groove. Comment by August 26 for a chance to win. We’ll choose one comment at random to receive the CDs.


The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends August 26, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

Category: Music, Contests




Joanne Hale says ...
i love nawal al-zoghbi ... her song "alf w miye" is a great song! now if only i could speak the language!
08/13/2012 12:16:39 PM CDT
JC NAVA says ...
08/13/2012 12:24:24 PM CDT
Creslan Williams says ...
I would love to have this cd in my collection
08/13/2012 12:24:54 PM CDT
Melody says ...
Haven't really listened to any, but would be interested in hearing some.
08/13/2012 12:27:27 PM CDT
Anna says ...
I love Arabic music. As a Montessori teacher, I enjoy using the Putumayo series in my classroom to expose children to music of different cultures. This year, I have a student who is Muslim in my class (dad is Jordanian) so this set would be awesome to have :). Thanks, Anna
08/13/2012 12:45:30 PM CDT
Anthony says ...
Love it
08/13/2012 12:47:53 PM CDT
Andrew McGuire says ...
Baba Zula is awesome , I randomly saw them preform at a street fest in Barcelona in 2009. They really opened me up to the middle eastern style of music. It was also a very passionate set which engergized the crowd !
08/13/2012 1:26:43 PM CDT
Chandra says ...
These albums sound very interesting! I listen to a variety of Arabic music, from pop music to chanting and instramental. I have no one favorite artist.
08/13/2012 2:22:47 PM CDT
Angela Irving says ...
I like Aza. They came through Austin during SXSW. I've loved pretty much all the music I've heard from the Middle East & North Africa, but haven't been fortunate enough to catch the names of all the artists I've heard. I hope these CDs help to bridge the cultural gap between the west & the middle east! Thank you!
08/14/2012 9:39:51 AM CDT
Fiona r says ...
Would love to have this cd for our preschool co-op; I think the kids would enjoy it!
08/14/2012 2:53:16 PM CDT
Joy says ...
I have not heard this musician but would like to listen to the music.
08/14/2012 3:27:43 PM CDT
Lisa says ...
Looking forward to buying this album; I can't get enough of Arabic music!
08/16/2012 9:43:37 AM CDT
C. Dolder says ...
I love middle eastern music. My favorite artist is Youssou N'Dour.
08/16/2012 6:08:12 PM CDT
E. Saldana says ...
These are just a few we enjoy: Ilham Al Madfai, Fairuz, Omar Faruk Tekbikek, Rahim Alhaj, Magida El Roumi, Sami Shawa, Wadi Al Safi, Asmahan, Hakki Okadia, Hamza El Din, Yair Dalal, Tio Chemirani, Oum Kalthoum.
08/16/2012 6:20:45 PM CDT
Marianne says ...
I was introduced to rai by an Algerian cab driver in Paris and have been hooked ever since. So glad to see this follow-up to Arabic Groove, which I loved!
08/16/2012 6:50:00 PM CDT
Iain says ...
Umm Kulthum.
08/16/2012 7:45:09 PM CDT
mirsada bogdanovic says ...
my favorite arabic singer is Amr Diab
08/17/2012 2:21:07 PM CDT
Dijana Durmic says ...
I like to listen to Alabina...she is Muslim/Israeli. Now if that's not multi-culti I don't know what is.
08/17/2012 3:13:05 PM CDT
Claudia Schumann says ...
I love this music. I would love to hear the cd. I was introduced to Arabic and North African music 40 years ago and have loved to music ever since.
08/17/2012 5:47:50 PM CDT
vickie says ...
Yes, I am a huge fan for many years of this genre of music...a fave is pretty much anything from Buddha Bar Radio..check it out online...very soul moving, mysterious, and sentual at times too. The music can take you away to a exotic location or make you want to dance. An oldie but still great is Kirpi of Buddha Bar Music (tried to leave a youtube link for you to listen...site wouldnt let me) and I like Nassir and so many others too.
08/17/2012 5:51:19 PM CDT
DOREEN says ...
08/17/2012 6:06:44 PM CDT
Lucy Khatchadourian says ...
I love arabic music particularly belly dancing music. It reaches me deep down into my core. Having learned some belly dancing, I enjoy the arabic beat along with the drums they use.
08/17/2012 6:10:18 PM CDT
Lucy Khatchadourian says ...
I love arabic music particularly belly dancing music. It reaches me deep down into my core. Having learned some belly dancing, I enjoy the arabic beat along with the drums they use.
08/17/2012 6:10:23 PM CDT
Shannon says ...
Putumayo has style when it comes to choosing music. I find myself trying to sing along with the songs--even though I don't speak the language! Putumayo proves the universal nature of music and how it crosses time, distance, and language.
08/17/2012 6:19:19 PM CDT
Denise S. says ...
08/17/2012 7:02:22 PM CDT