Since the early 1980s, Costa Rican researcher and musician Manuel Monestel freqeuntly travelled from the capital city San Jose to the the caribbean
village Cahuita to meet up with the legendary Calypso King Walter Gavitt
Ferguson a.k.a « Mr. Gavitt » or « Segundo ». Where others
had just seen an old modest man with guitar and tape recorder, Monestel
recognized a genious composer with a vast body of work and a unique artistic
expression. Thanks to the tireless work of Monestel to give Ferguson’s music a
national and international platform, the world is now able to grasp and enjoy
the beautiful musical universe of the « trovador de Cahuita ». And
with time, Monestel’s academic and artistic efforts also became an important
driver of the valorization of afrocostarican culture and the growing interest
in Calypso Limonense in Costa Rica nad beyond.
By the mid 1980s, the two men had naturally become very good friends. With Gavitt in his most productive phase, steadily composing new material and recording it on his legendary one-off cassettes, it is not surprising that Monestel occasionally got hold of a few of Gavitts tapes in all those years. But when we recently asked him to look around how many he could find, his answer blew our mind: «I’ve still got around 45 tapes and also a few recorded interviews with Gavitt.» «Oh my god ! This translates to roughly 3'000 minutes of material… » « Yes, I know. »
Needless to say, this is the biggest catch since we started the Walter Gavitt
Ferguson Tape Hunt : Besides being an invaluable testimony of time,
those 30 to 40 year-old cassettes also contain more of the unheared "lost Calypsos" that urgently need to be rescued from the slow but unstoppable decay
of the magnetic tape.
Now the huge task is to carefully digitalize those approximately 50 hours of historical recordings for the Tape Hunt archive of the Ferguson family. Also, a personal copy will be made for Gavitt, so he can once again hear his old and forgotten songs. The task will be performed by a professional sound engineer in San Jose, Costa Rica. To pay for the sound man’s services, we have started a crowdfunding campaign - donate here.
The raising of this treasure was also covered in Costa Ricas newspaper La Nacion - read here.
Thank you for your kind support!
In 2017, nine original tapes were located in Canada:
In 2018, six original tapes were found in Costa Rica:
In March 2019, five original tapes were recovered in the USA:
In May 2019, unreleased parts from Don Walter's "Folkways" album were donated to the Tape Hunt:
In January 2020, another five original tapes were found in Costa Rica:
In October 2020, the biggest catch containing 45 original tapes was unearthed in Costa Rica: