Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An interview with Putumayo's founder Dan Storper.
Chances are if you listen to a recording produced by Putumayo World Music, you'll want to get up and dance. "Our slogan is guaranteed to make you feel good," says Dan Storper, president and founder of the company. "It's not just about that (feeling good), but it's an important part of what I think the music from other parts of the world is able to do. It helps people rise above their daily problems."

Storper, who selects the artists and songs, and determines their sequence on each CD produced by the label, didn't set out to be a music executive. In 1975, armed with a degree in Latin American Studies, he opened a small store in New York that specialized in handicrafts and clothing imported from countries like Ecuador, Peru, Boliva and Colombia. (The name of the company comes from a river and valley in southern Colombia.)

Over the years, the business expanded. By 1991 he had seven stores selling crafts and clothing from around the world, and was designing a line of ethnic inspired garments. But he was tiring of the retail business and looking for something new. He found it in San Francisco. "One day I was walking in Golden Gate Park and heard an African group performing that really knocked my socks off." Storper recalls he was so impressed by their music that he made a vow to buy their CD and start playing it in his stores.
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