While we strive to reflect the diversity of the world in our collections, there are some places that produce music that we just can't get enough of. Artists from countries such as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Cape Verde and others have had an outsized presence on our albums over the years, yet France may lead the pack. Not only do we love classic French music and culture, France also happens to be an epicenter for the production of music by African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern musicians and so much more. While this is largely due to France's colonial legacy, it is also a reflection of the diversity of the French music scene as well as the open-mindedness of its music fans.
While artists with French connections populate a majority of our albums, we have also devoted our attention to the traditional music styles of classic French culture. Here are some of the Putumayo albums and playlists that explore Francophone music, from the swinging Manouche jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt (who was Belgian...sorry, France), to the vintage chanson that sprang from the cabarets of Paris in the early years of the 20th Century, to the hipsters of the contemporary nouvelle scéne.
The one that started it all for Putumayo, the original version of French Café was released in 2003 and was an instant hit. We updated French Café in 2015 with 7 new tracks from a mix of Francophone artists bringing new influences to the French music scene, as well as songs by icons such as Serge Gainsbourg and Georges Brassens. We even threw in a recipe for Tarte Tatin in the liner notes so you could enjoy a sweet treat with your music.
Released in 2020, Paris Café is Putumayo's most recent collection to focus on French music. With selections by legendary singers of chanson, musette, Gypsy jazz and more, this album offers a return to the bistros, cafes and cabarets of 1950s Paris. With classics by Charles Trenet and Lucienne Delyle alongside new voices such as Francesca Blanchard and Duo Gadjo's Isabelle Fontaine, Paris Café will make you feel like you are starring in your very own Truffaut film.
A musical time machine, the music on Vintage France will transport you to the Paris of another era. While the songs conjure the past, you'll be surprised to find how many of the the artists on the collection are actually contemporary musicians who draw inspiration from the golden age of French music. This is the perfect soundtrack for a French dinner with friends, or even for when you want to enjoy a glass of wine on your own and imagine yourself a world away.
For the Kids: French Playground & French Dreamland
Why should adults have all the fun? Putumayo created these collections of Francophone music especially for children and their families. French Playground offers an upbeat journey through the French-speaking world, from Quebec to France to the French Caribbean. Kids of all ages (and, even their parents!) will enjoy this musical rendezvous of fun French songs. French Dreamland is a soothing selection that will lull your kids to sleep with the gentle sounds of French song. These charming lullabies will transport you to the lavender-scented French countryside.
For the Holidays: French Christmas
Have a Jouyeux Noël with this charming collection of seasonal French songs. Featuring songs and artists from France and French Canada, French Christmas with help you celebrate the holiday season with music that is overflowing with charm, beautiful melodies and heartfelt appreciation of all the joys that Christmas has to offer.
In addition to our CD and download collections, Putumayo has recently started to create customized playlists that are now available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and coming soon on Pandora. Featuring songs from Putumayo collections past and present, these playlists allow you to enjoy the careful curation of Putumayo as part of your existing digital subscriptions.
Best of France
Take a musical voyage to France with some of our favorite French chansons by legends and contemporary artists from Putumayo compilations past and present, along with new discoveries.
French Dinner Party
The perfect soundtrack for a romantic evening, be transported to the bistros of Paris with this selection of French songs from Putumayo collections past and present, along with new discoveries.
Hosted by former KFOG personality Rosalie Howarth and Putumayo founder Dan Storper, the Putumayo World Music Hour (PWMH) is an internationally syndicated radio show that takes listeners on a weekly journey through the music of many different cultures. The program is heard on more than 100 commercial and non-commercial stations around the world.
In this episode, we'll hear from a new generation of French musicians who honor their melodic past while embracing the future, injecting the nouvelle scene with irreverent humor and classic French flair.
Listen to our radio shows and find a list of stations that carry the show.