Remembering Robert Durand

We received word tonight that a History Project friend has passed away – Robert Durand was responsible for creating the original Caffè Lena ZBS Radio Shows in the early 1970s, and with the help of Tom Lopez, drew our attention to the archived tapes for preservation and digitization as part of our efforts to document the recorded history of the Caffè. What was most uncanny about this particular History Project meeting was that Robert kindly coordinated the transfer and donation of the original tapes in New York via email from his home far away in Panama. In our email correspondence, Robert shared enthusiastic memories of meeting Lena Spencer for the first time, recording her singing her own song “Lena the Queen of Saratoga” on the ZBS “Best of Saratoga Springs” project, and an unsuccessful attempt to “vacation kidnap” Lena to San Francisco in 1979. In an email on April 1, 2011, Robert wrote:

“I’m so pleased that this archive work is being done.  At the time I was producing the show, I felt that more recognition of Caffè Lena was due and that hopefully, it would come in time. Thanks again for your support and work on this important piece of history.”

We’ll strive to continue our preservation work with Robert’s encouragement.

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