The Lost Tapes Of Caife: A Vintage Ecuadorian Record Label Revived

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Ecuadorian musician Daniel Lofredo Rota discovered a treasure trove of lost recording sessions in boxes and in this bag.

I have to give credit where credit is due: I found out about the subject of this week's Alt.Latino from a New York Times article relating the story of the discovery of a box of recording-session masters from the now-defunct Caife record label in Quito, Ecuador, dating back to the late 1950s and early '60s.

Intrigued by the way the music sounded, I reached out to Daniel Lofredo Rota with the help of a colleague in Quito (thank you, Gabriela Robles!). Before I knew it, I was hooked up to his home studio and listening to him tell the story of an amazing musical-archaeological expedition.

It tickled me to realize that there are, in fact, still many musical worlds to discover. And while technology can aid in the search, it is old-fashioned human curiosity that propels the quest. In this case, Lofredo Rota discovered a little something about himself and his country as he searched through the cache of long-lost recordings he'd found.

This story of discovery has a soundtrack unlike anything we've heard recently on Alt.Latino. Ecuador is so physically central to the Americas and to the Earth, yet we seldom get a chance to dive into the country's music. While we have no way to thank Daniel's grandfather, Carlos Rota, for recording what has become a window on the past, we can celebrate the music, the musicians and the history of a country that has a uniquely rich cultural heritage.

The Argentinian label ZZK Records is currently crowdfunding a documentary about Lofredo Rota's efforts to complete digitizing almost 500 tapes. Find more information here.

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