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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

Deb cox says …

My kids would love to jam to this!

Sara McNamara says …

This looks fantastic... my kids would love this.

Ms. Kelly says …

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago means listening to Tyron Davis. Who is the King of the Blues? Robert Johnson? Or Bobby Blue Bland? Have a conversation with Dan Akroyd, comic/actor and he will tell you that Little Jr. Parker and Sonny Boy represent what real blues is all about. The blues for me means walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans and walking into a bar and B.B. King is playing for a crowd of folks and you suddenly understand the true meaning of "jaw dropping". It means falling in LOVE with Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf while you are twenty years old....

Nique says …

This would be the perfect gift for my dad for father's day. I'd love to win it for him. Thanks for being so culturally diverse Whole Foods and supporting music from great African artists! I truly appreciate Whole Foods Market featuring this article by Dan Storper to show the roots of Blues music, and educating those who may have been unaware ot its origins. My favorite Blues artist is B.B King (and "Lucille")

Lori Crowley says …

B.B. King, Billie Holiday, and Etta James are among my favorites Blues artists. I'm especially partial to Bille and Etta, as they paved the way for powerhouse female vocalists. Their sultry voices gives me the chills. Truly amazing!

Sally says …

Irma Thomas

Dorothy says …

sounds like great music and I love the blues

Jewell says …

I love the music and have been listening to it since forever... Like the way it makes me feel

Jill says …

Putumayo's CD's are always full of top notch artists in their perspective genres gathered in one place! Being a music lover of all genres, they are the best in my book! I especially love it though when I come across a "new to me" artist. Thanks Whole Foods and Putumayo!

German says …

Love Blues. Love Jazz. Love the sound of the river.................

barbara krawczyk says …

B.B. King was my favorite Blues singer when I was a teenager.BACK IN THE DAY!!!

Sarah says …

Blues are the genuine American music enjoyed here at home and around the world.

Marina says …

I enjoy listening blues and I would like to have these CDs as part of my collection.

katie says …

Love putamayo:)

Rachael Barish says …

Clapton of course, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy Vaughn, Blues Brothers. There is also a great podcast called "The Roadhouse".

Stephanie says …

Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Billie Holiday. I love to listen to different styles of blues.

Stephanie says …

I love Etta also, I also would love to expand my collection.

Arlene says …

The blues is good for just relaxing

Lisa D. says …

Blues music is alive and well here in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. We are lucky to have a thriving Blues scene with musicians in their 90's performing regularly. I would recommend the book "Down in Houston" by Roger Wood to every lover of Blues music history.

Sandy Bounds says …

Etta James is wonderful! Really looking forward to hearing African Blues, Putamayo has some great music too!!

Angie L. says …

I have great friends who are introducing me to different artists/types of music. We are going to see a band - The Gravel Project - this month that incorporates blues into their sound. It would be great to have these CDs and continue my music introduction/education. :)

Dana says …

I really enjoy listening to some of the other Putumayo collections- world reggae, Afro-Portuguese, Women of Africa, to name a few. I'm also starting to listen to live local blues, and would love to hear some African blues.

Deborah Sachs says …

Blues has been a part of my life since at least 1966 when I quite by chance heard B.B. King play in a hole-in-the-wall bar on Broad Street in Philadelphia. More good fortune for me when I found myself at the first annual Ann Arbor Blues Festival where just about every blues musician you might want to hear performed onstage and jammed behind the stage most of the night. Appreciate all blues and love most of it but B.B. King is it for me. He truly has something beyond description that touches me and never grows old.

Michael Coates says …

The Blues is universal, but it is born in Africa. It grew wings in the U.S., especially flying from the South to Chicago and now spirals around the globe. One of my most memorable evenings was hearing a surprise set from Buddy Guy in his club last year.

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