Considering that this part of the world has long been referred to as the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, it seems only natural for a leading world-music label such as Putumayo to take an active interest. Putumayo started out in 1993 as a means of introducing western ears to a wide range of sounds from around the globe. Over the past 13 years the label has put out teasers featuring mixes based on all manner of ethnic-oriented music, including salsa, Brazilian rhythms and even a compilation entitled A Jewish Odyssey. There is also a children's collection called World Playground which includes a piece by our very own singer/songwriter/pianist Shlomo Gronich. Now the powers-that-be in the Putumayo empire have decided it's time to make their presence felt in Israel. This Thursday the Putumayo World Music launch party will take place at Hangar 26 in the Port of Tel Aviv. There'll naturally be plenty of music on offer - live too - plus a wide range of liquid refreshments. "World music is becoming more popular the whole time," says Putumayo's Israeli representative Naomi Zisblatt. "We expect Putumayo to enter the mainstream here." And there's more good news. "Putumayo plans to put out a CD of Israeli artists in July 2007," Zisblatt adds. "I think Israel has a lot to offer the world music community."