Frequently Asked Questions

What does the word 'Putumayo' mean?

Putumayo is a river that begins in the South American country of Colombia and flows along the border of Ecuador and Peru until it reaches the Amazon in Brazil. Putumayo's founder, Dan Storper, was traveling through the region in 1974, and was so enamored with its beauty, he decided to name his new handicraft shop after it.  The etymological origins of the word Putumayo in Quechua (indigenous Indian language) are as follows: Mayu (or Mayo) means "River" and Putu can mean either a gourd for drinking chicha, which is a homemade corn/maize liquor, or "nace" (birth) or "sale" (leaves). Therefore, the Quechuan origins of the Putumayo word could be understood to mean either a gourd river or "birth of the river." Another literal meaning of the word Putumayo is a heron (type of bird).

Read more on the history of Putumayo World Music.

Where can I buy Putumayo CDs?

Putumayo CDs are available at most record stores. Putumayo CDs are also available at thousands of non-traditional retailers around the world, including gift shops, book stores, cafes, clothing stores and a variety of others. You can also purchase Putumayo CDs on our website. A selection of recent releases are also available digitally at All transactions on our website are encrypted and secure. If you live in the US, PR or Canada and cannot find Putumayo at a local store or online, please call 1-888-PUTUMAYO (1-888-788-8629 ) to place an order (credit card only). International orders can be placed online or by faxing (802) 864-9846. Please note: international shipping can be very expensive. We suggest ordering from on-line or mail order vendors in your region.

Can I buy Putumayo collections digitally?

Yes, select recent releases are now available digitally around the world on iTunes.

What if I purchase a CD I don't love?

Putumayo's products are protected by our Feel Good Guarantee. If you are not entirely satisfied with any purchase of a Putumayo CD, you may return it to Putumayo for a full refund. Send the CD, along with your receipt of purchase and your address to: Putumayo World Music, Attn: Consumer Returns, 28 West 25th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10010 or call +1-212-625-1400 for more information.

I'm a retailer and want to sell Putumayo CDs in my store. How do I do this?

Putumayo World Music develops partnerships with distributors and retailers around the world. Our goal is to create an environment in stores where customers can hear our upbeat, melodic compilations of great international music that are "guaranteed to make you feel good!"
I am a retailer or distributor and wish to sell Putumayo products in my store(s).

How does Putumayo decide what projects to release?

There are a number of factors that go into Putumayo's decisions regarding what compilations to release. We try to select themes that will have broad appeal and that cover an area of particular musical and cultural interest. We also try to balance out our annual release schedule with a diverse mix of titles that cover a wide range of musical genres. Putumayo World Music's goal is to introduce people to other cultures through melodic, upbeat music from around the world.

How does Putumayo decide what songs to include on their CDs?

Putumayo has a database of more than 30,000 songs we have collected over the years. Jacob Edgar, an ethnomusicologist and longtime Putumayo researcher, and Putumayo founder/CEO, Dan Storper, research music for each project. Dan chooses the songs and invites Putumayo staff around the world to comment on them during listening sessions. Dan makes the final selections and creates a musical sequence of songs that he hopes people will enjoy.

How does Putumayo select the charities and causes it supports?

Putumayo endeavors to raise awareness and support for organizations that help improve the quality of life in regions where the music comes from. With that in mind, we tie in financial and other support to specific albums and organizations that relate to those albums. For a full listing of non-profits and other charitable organizations Putumayo works with, click here.

How do I submit a demo for consideration?

We are always interested in discovering high-quality music from around the world. We try to send a letter or email confirming receipt of the demo no later than six weeks after receipt. If you do not receive a letter of confirmation in 8 weeks, then please resend your material. We receive so much great music there's no way we could include it all, but if we find something we like that might work on a compilation we'll get in touch with you. Please send physical demos only. We do not accept digital submissions at this time. To submit demo music please send to:

Putumayo World Music
C/O Ariel Henley
413 Carpenter Rd
Charlotte, VT 05445

How can I book a Putumayo artist for a show or event?

Most of the artists who appear on our compilations are not Putumayo artists. They or their producer or label have given us permission to include their song on a particular project. However, Putumayo works with a number of artists that appear on our compilations. Information on Putumayo events, artist tours and their booking agents can be found here. If you are looking for a particular artist, please send an inquiry to

Where can I find the full lyrics or a musical transcription of one of the songs on your CDs?

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide the full lyrics or musical transcriptions for most of the songs on our albums. Due to legal and space considerations, we only include short excerpts that give you a sense of what the song is about. For full lyrics, if they are available, we suggest you contact the source label or visit the artist's website. When available, both source label and artist websites are listed in the licensing credits of our CDs.

Does Putumayo have a Privacy Policy?

 Yes! Click here to view our Privacy Policy.