Putumayo World Music
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In 1991, on his way home from Bali, Dan Storper stopped in San Francisco, California. In Golden Gate Park, he heard the Nigerian band Kotoja. He was impressed by the music and the way it gathered many different people. He made a compilation of music he had gathered on his journeys and gathered a positive response. This led him to give out his first release in 1993. Storper took the name of his record label, Putumayo, from Colombia's Putumayo Department where he travelled in 1974. The word is said to be the name of a bird (heron).
Every release features the art of Nicola Heindl. Her art is both folky and modern, and, according to the Putumayo website, "represents one of Putumayo's goals: to connect the traditional to the contemporary."
Typically a Putumayo World Music compilation is presented as a theme under the title “Putumayo Presents:” The themes can be regional (South Africa, Caribbean, Asia), music types (reggae, folk, Latin, jazz) and other themes (lounge, groove, party).
The Putumayo Kids division was created in 2002. Since the release of the World Playground CD in 1999, Putumayo Kids has achieved honours from Parents' Choice Awards and the National Parenting Publications Association, and has grown to be one of the more important children's record labels.
Putumayo launched the Putumayo World Music Hour in 2000, a commercially-syndicated world music radio show. Rosalie Howarth of KFOG hosts the Music Hour. The weekly show is heard internationally on over 150 commercial and non-commercial stations.
Putumayo has ten offices worldwide. Their products are sold at a network of more than 3,000 book, gift, clothing, coffee and other specialty retailers in the US. The label claims to distribute their CDs in more than 80 countries around the world.
As of 30 August 2011, on the release of African Beat and Latin Beat, Putumayo's compilations will be available digitally.