Tag Archives: Putumayo

New Music: Various Artists, “Putumayo Presents African Blues”

We’ve had a lot of fun at Putumayo’s expense around these parts, but it’s all been in good fun — even though they seem to have a release for every culture, mood, or occasion, they also have an undeniable knack for putting together some pretty great mixtapes. Their latest, Putumayo Presents African Blues, is no exception; it mixes low-down laments with the sprightlier side of the spectrum, instrumentals alongside vocal cuts, and offers a musical African travelogue in the bargain.

But don’t take our word for it — listen below, and pre-order your copy now. Putumayo Presents African Blues is out April 24.

CD Review: Various Artists, “Putumayo Presents A Family Christmas”

616FLxA340L._SCLZZZZZZZ_[1]Putumayo’s countless compilations of mall-friendly world music would be eminently mockable even if the company hadn’t been sent up so memorably on Seinfeld, but you’ve got to hand it to them — these folks know how to put together a nifty mix CD. Their umpteenth holiday compilation, A Family Christmas, breaks the label’s strenuously pan-cultural stereotype, instead serving up a tasty souffle of high-quality yuletide music while still managing to stay eclectic enough to include the likes of Martin Sexton, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Leon Redbone.

At 11 tracks and just over 33 minutes in length, A Family Christmas lasts just long enough to down a couple mugs of eggnog, or to string half the lights on your tree — or, really, to play for hours while you cook dinner, wrap presents, or enjoy family time. Only two of these tracks aren’t available anywhere else (Johnny Bregar’s lovely acoustic take on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and the Brave Combo’s “Jolly Old St. Nick”), but if you aren’t the type of person who’s likely to spend the money on, say, Leon Redbone’s Christmas Island — but still wouldn’t mind owning his delightfully droll take on “Let It Snow” — A Family Christmas is a decent value at $13.99. If you’ve already got a huge collection of holiday music, this isn’t anything you need to bother with, but if you’re looking for one Christmas album with enough breadth to please the whole family — and hold up to plenty of repeat plays — you can safely purchase A Family Christmas without reservations.

CD Review: Various Artists, “Putumayo Kids Presents: European Playground”

61jya5srirl_sclzzzzzzz_1After a few paragraphs of the press release for Putumayo Kids’ latest release, European Playground, there is one more simple line that says “Putumayo Kids music is ‘guaranteed to make you feel good.'”  And dangit if they aren’t right.

Putumayo’s mission is to introduce kids to great music from every part of the world, breaking down barriers and teaching youngsters about different styles of music as well as new languages. It’s been a decade since their groundbreaking World Playground was released, and European Playground features music from 16 different countries—Finland, Sweden, Belgium, England, Denmark, Hungary, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Scotland, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. And the longest track is three and a half minutes, giving you small doses of foreign fare to digest

Our son is not quite two years old and we’re gradually introducing him to some of the cool stuff we like that doesn’t revolve around Elmo or Handy Manny or the Teletubbies (or his favorite artist, yours truly..no, really!). He sometimes whines when we listen to something new, but for European Playground, Jon Jon smiled and bopped his head to the music. And what do you know? So did his parents….proof that Putumayo teaches diversity to parents as well as children.

Go check this one out, and don’t be surprised if your mood doesn’t change as if you’d just stumbled across a $100 bill.