A few weeks ago journalist Clayton Conn gave us a hint that the BBC World Service with an estimated 60 million listeners worldwide weekly was going to rerun the Tape Hunt episode (*The hunt for a calypso king's lost music") that he had co-produced back in 2019.
The airing was scheduled for this monday, and in the US, Cihan Bilginsoy, a professor of Economics at the University of Utah an his wife were tuning in by chance. A few minutes into the show they recognized the artist's name and the music - it was the artist from an obscure cassette they had bought 20 years ago in Costa Rica. Cihan and his wife learned about our project to track down and "repatriate" Don Walter's musical legacy, hopped on the internet and got in touch with us.
University of Utah professor and tape owner Cihan Bilginsoy is specailzed in dynamics of economic crashes.
(Pictures: Mario Chacon (left), Salt Lake City Weekly (right))
"in February 2002 we purchased the tape in a restaurant in Puerto Viejo. I remember it was a small restaurant run by a woman, serving fish, beans and rice. We asked about the music that was playing in the background while we had our meal and she came back with that cassette and sold it to us. I do not know if she had a stack but she brought out only one cassette., The tracklist was handwritten on the J-card and I recall it was the same handwriting I saw on your website today. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the cassette after some 20 years. But I had recorded the music on a CD. I still have the CD. I am happy to share it and it gives me great pleasure to know that Don Walter and his family will be listening to this lost & found tape soon!"
The recordings from Cihan's tape sound real fresh. Don Walter's voice is in excellent shape. If it was recorded around 2002, it might be one of the last recording sessions from Don Walter's home recording career - spanning 25 plus years - because around 2002 Don Walter stopped to record and sell his one-off tapes, because by the close of the year his first professional CD ("Babylon") was in production and cassettes were not in demand anymore. Argueably one of the last tapes that Don Walter ever sold to his fans personally was that of Mario Chacon, though Cihan's recording might be of the same period. To top it off, Cihan's tape contains a version of the rare song "No Bother To Cry" - when we first found that composition on a tape from Marcyn's Canadian Tapes, nobody in the Ferguson family could even remember it, including Don Walter. A real treat and another sound recording that will be "repatriated" to the grandfather of Costa Rican Calypso.
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: