Whole Story

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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




stephanie says ...
Love all the Putamayo cds! Look forward to African Blues!!
05/03/2012 12:33:11 PM CDT
CeciliaC says ...
I love all kind of music but my favorite would have to be Tower of Power and Taj Mahal! Blues is such a heartfelt music and really gets into your soul!!! I would love to add African to my collection....
05/03/2012 12:40:16 PM CDT
Bob says ...
I have been a blues fan all my life. My favorites include; BB King, Johnnie Taylor and many others.
05/02/2012 10:55:32 PM CDT
Amy says ...
Love Taj Mahal & psyched to hear this new compilation!
05/01/2012 7:44:58 AM CDT
Susan V says ...
Love all music! Since I have come to expand my repetoire to include music of the world, I would love to have these CDs as part of my collection.
05/03/2012 12:25:33 PM CDT
lin says ...
05/03/2012 12:18:00 PM CDT
Michele Holdsworth says ...
Janis Joplin was the heart and soul of blues - saw John Lee Hooker in a Redwood City, CA bar along with another cool young blues guy - Mr. Mark Ford.
05/04/2012 9:26:23 PM CDT
Maria says ...
Love the blues sung by the wonderful Dinah Washington!
05/02/2012 11:45:43 PM CDT
Kelly says ...
B.B.King - of course!!!
05/02/2012 11:22:39 PM CDT
Chris Rollyson says ...
As a non-native Chicagoan, I have learnt to love the blues, and here's the data, direct from iPod: -Buddy Guy (esp. w Junior Wells) -Big Time Sarah -Dinah Washington -Jimmie Cotton (harmonica) -Karen Russell -Katherine Davis -Muddy Waters -Nina Simone
05/02/2012 11:21:40 PM CDT
William says ...
I love the blues. my favorites type of music.
05/03/2012 8:05:45 AM CDT
Joanne Bianco says ...
Pinetop Perkins who kept performing until his death at 97. The blues was in his soul.
05/03/2012 7:49:24 AM CDT
Terry B says ...
I was introduced to many blues artists by the British R&B bands who copied them in the 60s and 70s, but who also introduced them to a wider audience, especially in North America, where many of them were almost unknown.
05/03/2012 12:54:27 PM CDT
H. Hamilton de Nunez says ...
This collection sounds awesome! One of our favorites -- Empress of the Blues -- Bessie Smith, who later mentored Billie Holiday, another great blues singer.
05/03/2012 7:31:05 AM CDT
lesley says ...
as a teacher of fine arts, poetry and dance i turn to Putumayo on a regular basis for inspiration and education. I just developed a focus study on the African continent, exploring the arts of many of the countries and this compilation would greatly enhance the children's experience, particularly of all the connections between African and American musicality, honoring the history and the inventiveness of both. Thanks so much for the careful work you do in bringing the music of the world to all of us listeners, musicians, artists and dancers.
05/03/2012 7:12:57 AM CDT
Brent V Moss says ...
I love blues and the many of the soulful beats that come out from this music.It preaches to you sometimes like gospel it touches our soul .
05/03/2012 1:21:21 PM CDT
Brian Serna says ...
I grew up loving the Blues ever since watching the original Blues Brothers movie. I was also lucky enough to catch BB King and Keb Mo live in the last few years.
05/03/2012 1:15:09 PM CDT
Kellie McMaster says ...
My son loves the blues that he often hears at local farmer's markets and he also loves jazz too. He likes trying new music. He learned about Louis Armstrong in School, and always likes to play new music. He has a real guitar. He is six, and he will be 7 in a few weeks. He makes up his own blues songs. This would be a great birthday presents! Thanks for this opportunity Kellie
05/02/2012 11:04:56 PM CDT
John says ...
Freddie King and Buddy Guy have to be near the top of the list.
05/02/2012 11:02:16 PM CDT
Sheila says ...
Love the blues especially John Lee Hooker's "Blues Before Sunrise"...great song.
05/03/2012 12:42:20 PM CDT
deb keilen says ...
this music keeps me smiling and wanting to dance and spin and twirl!
05/03/2012 12:40:33 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
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
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
Rina says ...
Can't beat some classic Muddy Waters!
04/30/2012 3:37:12 PM CDT