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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

Sarah Isusi says …

Been singing, dancing and partying to these CDs for years and now I'm collecting the childrens CDs to sing and dance with my toddler.

Mrs. Joyce Randell says …

I enjoy listening to music especially traditional music that tells a story.

victoria biller says …

I would love to hear the combination of blues and african music. I already own a few of the Putamayo CDS. It would be great to have a larger collection.

Christine says …

Stevie Ray Vaughan was such an amazing artist... We could only imagine where his music would have taken us if he was still with us today... RIP Stevie!!!!! Also, a shout out to Keb 'Mo.... great artist whom I've turned many a friend on to!

Janet says …

Putumayo has done such an amazing job of "spreading the good news" of African music, and multicultural music in general. I've used several Putumayo CD's as an elementary music teacher. Keb Mo is a favorite of students and me!

Amy says …

What an amazing blend of music - can't wait to hear this!!

Pamela says …

Love the "Playing for Change" music. Will definately be buying this if I don't win it! Looks terrific,,,,

Susan says …

Love playing Putumayo music in my pre-k classroom.

ShaneW says …

i have over 3000 blues Cd's-a favorite? gosh...guitar: johhny winter/mike bloomfield; harp: little walter, kim wilson, brian templeton, charlie musselwhite, jerry portnoy....drums:willie big eyes (RIP);piano:Pinetop(RIP), honey piazza,prof longhair, dave maxwell, bass-hmm- have to think on that; horns: roomfuls horns new and past(RIP porky!)oh! bass-Freebo*am i showing my age?!?!?; sax gordon, oh! cant forget silas jr -there is and was a great blues community here in Boston; problem is: no money to pay these folks what theyre really worth- why resort back to the old chess records days and even before..the blues will never die-thanks otis spann for that gem

robin says …

my favorites are sonny terry and brownie mcgee. when i was in college, sonny and brownie would sit outside their house, playing for the community and passerby's. we often had spellbound crowds. a friend for life, i was.

Kimberly says …

Jelly Roll Morton, of course! Blues and Rhythm & Blues. Wonder what happened to that girl-phenom Rory Block? So many choices from the past through the present. Thanks for the opportunity to check in...

Deann Wilson says …

My baby is happy when he hears the blues, cool huh!

Michelle says …

Playground is my favorite!

renee says …

i have enjoyed every putumayo album i've ever heard...i love the variety and exposure to places i've never traveled to!

Susan says …

Billie Holiday

Keeg says …

wynton

wrs says …

Funny how listening to the Blues when I'm feeling blue always makes me feel better.

Gabrielle Brooks says …

this would be AWESOME!!! i rarely buy CDs anymore but the putumayo collection is something that i always finding myself buying, i probably have 5 or 6 of these CDs already! they are amazing, i actually bought the children i babysit the kids cds for christmas and they loved it

Sandra Santos says …

I love all the Blues and African music. I'm from the island of Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa and love CV music and I love BB King and Bobby Blue Bland. I hope I win because I have two Putumayo's cd's and I love them.

Thuc Ng says …

I lived in Ivory Coast for some time so the musical group Zieti (which is a collaboration between Ivorian and American musicians) is my favorite!

Aimee says …

Blues...rock! I love them all...

Jenn says …

I love Putamayo, and this one, with the blues blend looks to be out of this world!

Nan says …

Black Star Liner - I only have it on vinyl, but I have copied it to my iphone. Taj is wonderful. I'm sure this CD is a great happiness blues.

Victoria says …

I love the attention being given to African music, in all its richness!

Charlotte Smith says …

I really love both the blues and African music-the combination will be dynamite I'm sure. Can't wait to hear it!

Vicki Seglin says …

Bonnie Raitt! And my friend, blues harmonica player and vocalist, John Jochem, who you have not heard of yet, but perhaps someday!

Kim Mesman says …

Love these cd collections...Love the reggae cd...Its awesome...Great series for kids and adults

lisa f says …

Love the blues, especially Billie Holiday and BB King. I am looking.forward to listening to this cd

Mary says …

I'd love to hear this combination.

mountain girl says …

We lived in Kansas City and would listen to the live music now and then in one of the many jazz rooms. I'd love this set!

Jennifer Scholte says …

I love any Putumayo CD, they put the best arts into the best mixes.

Melissa Mann says …

I would love to win this music! Nothing better than sitting on the patio with a glass of wine and good blues! One of my favorites is Billie Holiday....classic!

Sue S says …

You can't beat Taj Mahal or Tab Benoit.

Jean says …

NPR just did a review of this set and was highly complimentary and enthusiastic about the CD.

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!

Adam G says …

One of my favorites would have to be Keb Mo. Fantastic musician and keeping blues alive.

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!!!

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!

KellyM says …

Love Billie Holiday's "Lady Sings the Blues" - so beautiful!

Mo says …

Have not listened to a lot of African blues, but I am a fan of Buddy Guy and that says it all!

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!

lara says …

love 'em all

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!

Sandy says …

interested for my daughter, who has been to Africa 3 times.....she'd love this!

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!

Joyce McIntyre says …

Africa rules; I'd love to win Africa Blues!

Angelika says …

Connecting generations and continents reaching out to a diverse group of people:-)

Brett Asher says …

I have so many that I could name that I love when it comes to Blues.... It is also universal!! I was in S. Africa last month (June) and saw a couple of blues musicians there. Regardless of your location in the world... Blues is Blues is Blues!! But if I had to name a few artists: Eric Clapton, Tommy Castro, Glenn Kaiser, Larry Howard, Bryn Hayworth, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, etc.

angie lilly says …

I love the blues/jazz etc.! as for a fav artist, not sure. I love the oldies...the older the better! I like to hear the scratch of the record playing or the slightly hollow/treble sound from it being the early days of music recording. Really adds a dimension to it when you know the singers/song writers are long gone from this physical plane of existence!

lori says …

Love Putamayo CDs...this looks great!

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