5 Questions with Dan Storper CEO of Putumayo Records

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1. You have traveled the world listening to music and helping to bring the fascinating sounds of other cultures to music lovers in the United States.  Do you have one place that is such a favorite that you return there over and over again?

Other than New Orleans, I’d say it’s Africa. Also, there’s so much great music from around the world in Paris that I spend quite a bit of time there.

2. Over the course of the music phase of your career (readers- Dan’s first business was the clothing company of the same name, which he sold to concentrate on the record label), you have heard many different instruments that may not be familiar to listeners accustomed to rock, jazz or classical music.  Do you have a favorite unusual instrument and why?

Not just one. I can’t seem to get enough of really great saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, acoustic guitars and congas.

3. I recently traveled to Brazil and was struck by the similarities between Salvador (readers- it’s the capital city of the Brazilian state of Bahia) and New Orleans.  You have a home here in New Orleans and I am curious whether you have seen those same cultural similarities in other places across the globe?

There’s a close similarity between Brazil and New Orleans on many levels. New Orleans has a strong African and European cultural and musical mix. Certainly many of the Creole Caribbean islands and other parts of Africa have real similarities.

4. You have done a great deal to educate Americans about the various musical styles across the globe.  Your music is in classrooms and your Musical Playground series is a favorite of kids of all ages.  What advice do you have for parents who have a child with a serious interest in music?

We hope to open children’s’ ears up through accessible music. My suggestion, as you might suggest, is to not forget about the power of music as a way of introducing children to other cultures.

5. This Sunday is the first ever Putumayo Family Festival, which will be held at the Audubon Zoo here in New Orleans.  The festival features Jose Conde, a Cuban-American musician; Asheba, from Trinidad; Brady Rymer, an American kids folk rock star and New Orleans artist Ingrid Lucia.  All of the artists are featured on Putumayo’s kids’ CDs.  You could have had the first Putumayo Family Festival anywhere in the world.  Why New Orleans?

I have a 5-year-old son and live most of the time in New Orleans. I think people will love these groups and the opportunity for kids to experience a lot of different musical styles in one place. And, parents will enjoy it as much as the kids since their music is pretty universally appealing.

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