Why Daniel Lofredo Rota is bringing his grandfather's lost recordings back to life

Ecuadorian musician Daniel Lofredo Rota is digitally storing his grandfather's folk recordings to preserve the country's rich musical history.
Ecuadorian musician Daniel Lofredo Rota discovered lost recordings in this bag found in his grandfather's apartment. (Daniel Lofredo Rota)

"The first tapes we found were in an old suitcase," says Ecuadorian DJ Daniel Lofredo Rota. Lofredo Rota was clearing out his late grandfather's apartment when he came across rare recordings of local folk music among the newspapers, letters and long lost treasures.  "I knew there was magic in those tapes," admits the DJ, "the next thing I wanted to find was a tape player, but that took me around six months to do."

Lofredo Rota's grandfather began the Caife record label in the 1950s as a means to record Ecuador's traditional folk artists. However, when European settlers began to contribute to the music, the sound evolved. "That's really special about Ecuadorian music and about Ecuadorian identity," says Lofredo Rota, "we have this very intense clash of cultures and mixing."

Even those these are old recordings, the DJ says, "this music is very much alive, except it's alive in an very underground way." "People recognize and know these songs, but they don't make that leap onto the internet," explains Lofredo Rota, "they don't appear on TV, they're just these songs that are part of the DNA." His grandfather's collection of tapes serves as a vital resource that captures Ecuador's musical history and for now, the DJ is working on digitally storing the music. He hopes to reissue a compilation of his favourite songs from the collection on vinyl. "I find this music to be so interesting and so fascinating and so charged with symbiotic content and information," says Lofredo Rota, "I definitely want to make sure this music is well stored and well kept for the future."

WEB EXTRA | Listen to some of the music Daniel Lofredo Rota has uncovered below.