Cumbancha / Putumayo

Cumbancha is a record label and music publisher that was founded in 2006. In 2008, the label was awarded the WOMEX Top Label Award.

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The acclaimed record label Cumbancha was founded by Jacob Edgar, an Ethnomusicologist and music producer who for the past eleven years has been the head of music research and product development at Putumayo World Music. Artists on Cumbancha include Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective, Habib Koité and Bamada, Rupa & the April Fishes, The Idan Raichel Project, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, Kailash Kher & Kailasa and many other top international talents.

It has been Edgar’s job to travel the world in search of exceptional artists and songs for Putumayo’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful compilations of music from all over the globe. Over the years, Edgar kept coming across artists he felt deserved wider recognition and assistance in bringing their music to the world stage, and he decided to form Cumbancha to address that need.

The headquarters for Cumbancha is an 1830’s farmhouse in the small town of Charlotte, Vermont. Also home to one of New England’s most prestigious recording studios, Charles Eller Studios (, the complex in Vermont allows for a unique artist retreat where musicians from around the world can come together to record in a picturesque and tranquil setting free from outside distractions. While many of the records released on Cumbancha are recorded on location in the countries where the music is from, others have been recorded, mixed and mastered in this special setting. Most of the post-production work will be completed in Vermont, in the shadows of the verdant Green Mountains. “I spend so much time traveling around the world,” says Edgar, “it’s nice to work in a place where I can focus and be surrounded by the region’s tremendous natural beauty.”

“One of the things I enjoy most about the work I do at Putumayo,” says Edgar, “was knowing that thousands of people are exposed to music from cultures they might not otherwise get to learn about, and in a small but not inconsequential way that helps pave the way towards greater appreciation and respect for diversity.” Cumbancha gives Edgar a chance to take that experience one step further.

“Cumbancha” is a Cuban word of West African derivation that refers to an impromptu party or musical jam session. Many classic Latin songs refer to the “cumbanchero,” a person who knows how to party and have a good time. For those who are familiar with the word, “cumbancha” implies an opportunity to get together with family and friends to dance, sing and celebrate life. “I like the creole nature of the word,” says Edgar, “that it is a blend of African and Spanish. Much of the greatest music in the world reflects this interaction between cultures and the ways in which people can gain inspiration for new expressions from people of different backgrounds.”



participating in

  • WOMEX 2021
  • WOMEX, Digital Edition, feat. Budapest Ritmo
  • WOMEX 2018
  • WOMEX 2016
  • WOMEX 2015
  • WOMEX 2014
  • WOMEX 2013
  • WOMEX 2012
  • WOMEX 2011
  • WOMEX 2010
  • WOMEX 2009
  • WOMEX 2008
  • WOMEX 2007
  • WOMEX 2006
  • WOMEX 2005
  • WOMEX 2004
  • WOMEX 2003
  • WOMEX 2002
  • WOMEX 2001
  • WOMEX 2000


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