Tom Frouge

Music Commissioner Tom Frouge


In retrospect, Tom Frouge began his life-long affair with music one Sunday night in 1964 in front of the television watching the Ed Sullivan show. He began his music business career in 1988 as a disc jockey at free-form radio station WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, CT, where he also served as music director for eight years. During his tenure at the station, Tom began working at Green Linnet Records where he served as Director of National Promotion for five years. He also oversaw the label’s Red Bird imprint, which specialized in American Roots music.

In 1998 Tom joined Putumayo World Music as Senior VP of Promotion/Artist Label Manager. In addition to his duties of overseeing the bi-coastal publicity and promotion team for the company, he was responsible for helping create and heading the Putumayo Artists label in Berkeley, CA. Artists he was instrumental in bringing to the label include acclaimed Malian musician Habib Koite, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, England’s Equation and the legendary South African diva Miriam Makeba. Tom oversaw Putumayo-branded tours, concerts and events. Frouge also produced and was responsible for helping to script the nationally syndicated radio program The Putumayo World Music Hour heard on over 120 stations.

In September of 2000, Tom came to Triloka Records as Senior Vice President of Marketing. He was responsible for designing and implementing marketing plans as well as creating strategic marketing opportunities for the label. He also served as direct liaison for all of Triloka’s distribution and retail needs. On the A & R (Artist & Repertoire) side he brought the renowned Madagascar Afro-Pop band Tarika to the label, Moroccan music master Hassan Hakmoun, the critically acclaimed nuevo-cumbia act Charanga Cakewalk, Juno-award winning Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia, world-dance pioneers Transglobal Underground and Uganda’s celebrated multi-instrumentalist/composer/singer Samite. He served as producer and executive producer on a number of the label’s artist releases and lifestyle compilations including the Tarika 10-year retrospective Beasts, Ghosts & Dancing With History, Charanga Cakewalk’s Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge, and various artist releases Earth N Bass and Hookah Café. Tom also produced and directed music videos for the company. In June of 2001, Tom was made a partner in Triloka Records/Karuna Music. In November 2003 the label was sold to Artemis Records and Tom served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Triloka Records.

From 2002 until 2009 Tom served as Vice President on the Board of Directors for American Roots Publishing, Inc., (ARP) a non-profit publishing company which sought to bridge American roots music, literature and art while helping to preserve America’s unique cultural treasures. ARP’s first projects included the Grammy® award-winning CD Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs Of Stephen Foster, featuring tracks from Mavis Staples, Alison Kraus, Raul Malo, John Prine, Michelle Shocked, Roger McGuinn, Suzy Bogguss, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and ten others, and a tribute to legendary American songwriter Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim: A Celebration Of Kris Kristofferson, which was co-executive produced by Tom, featured performances from Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Gretchen Wilson, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Brian McKnight, Marta Gómez, Patty Griffin & Charanga Cakewalk, Shooter Jennings, Jill Sobule & Lloyd Cole and others.

In 2005 Tom founded ¡Globalquerque! a world music and culture festival featuring acts from around the globe, presented on three stages over two days, which he produces and curates. The 2005 and 2006 editions of the festival were selected as official City of Albuquerque Tricentennial Events and since its inception the festival has been ranked a Tier One Destination Event by the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), now Visit Albuquerque. Tom also began Avokado Artists, a company that specializes in a variety of independent music-related services including artist management, presenting, marketing & promotion, general label and artist consultation and music publishing and supervision. Current Management clients (more)include Rahim AlHaj, Nation Beat, Ani Cordero, Vivalda Ndula, Nohe & Sus Santos and visual artist Jade Leyva. His clients have won or received nominations for multiple Grammy® and other prestigious awards. Avokado Artists also produces concerts and arts events throughout the year in New Mexico. In 2009 Avokado Artists was granted 501(c)3 non-profit status.

From 2005 until July 2007, Tom was Music Director and Stream Host of Radioio World, the world music channel on, an Internet radio provider. He was responsible for all the channel’s programming and built the stream’s entire library. In August of 2007 he moved over to where he programmed the World Music, New Age and Spa channels until July 2017.

From September 2005 until April 2010 Tom served as the Music Liaison for the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department. His activities included founding and producing the monthly Albuquerque Songwriter’s Series, sponsoring a monthly music business seminar series co-produced by the Albuquerque Music Association as well as giving Albuquerque’s music industry and performers a presence at SXSW and other national and international music forums. In December of 2006 Tom was asked to produce the annual Awards Show for the 2007 Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN.

In 2015 Tom co-founded, in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Festival Chispa Presents, which ran for two years. In 2018 he became curator and co-producer at Festival Eclectica in Angel Fire, NM. August 2019 saw Tom join the venerable Lotus World Music and Art Festival, the oldest world music festival in the US as Booking Manager & Curator. He currently hosts a weekly radio show, The Strange Land, in New Mexico on KUPR-FM.

Tom is the proud father of and to Talis Chase Frouge and the husband of and to Mexican Magical Realism painter and artist Jade Leyva. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a BA in Political Science, Tom is a long-time political and environmental activist, musician and songwriter (BMI) and has been involved in numerous bands and many music and politics-related endeavors throughout his life. He served on the steering committee of the NM Coalition to Repeal The Death Penalty. For five years he directed and co-produced the political talk show Up Front seen on Boston’s Cablevision. He served on the Board of Directors of the North American World Music Coalition and served as President of the non-profit organization. He has been a consultant on World Music for and a business and marketing consultant for Little Dog Records, an independent American roots music label in Burbank, CA owned by Grammy® award-winning producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, Michele Shocked), – where he also compiled the collection entitled The Gospel According To Little Dog; independent Nashville-based label Dualtone Records; Nashville marketing and management company Thirty Tigers and The North American Folk Alliance. Tom has been called on to judge showcase applications for Folks Alliance, including for their 2020 edition. Tom has yearly participated by invitation in recently discontinued UK publication fRoots magazine’s annual Critics Poll, the results of which were weighed as part of the BBC Music Awards. He has served on and moderated numerous panels on Festivals, Promotion, Marketing, A & R and the Cultural Economy at conferences around the world including WOMEX, South By Southwest, Encuentro de las Artes Escénicas, Journey to Korea, Circulart, Gangzhou World Music Festival & Forum, FIMPRO, Folk Alliance, Americana Music Association, Gavin Radio Conventions, CMJ, and The Association For Independent Music. Tom has written articles on World and American Roots music for various publications including Gavin,, The Fairfield County Advocate, and others. A songwriter and producer, in his spare time and when the mood strikes, Tom is recording tracks for his new psychedelic-pop-roots project Emergency Pull Off.