In a unanimous vote the Legislative Assembly approved the “Declaration of Honorary Citizen to Walter Gavitt Ferguson Byfield”.
Walter Ferguson Byfied, received the designation for his contribution to the Afro descendant Culture of Costa Rica and the multicultural and multiethnic construction of the country.
Also known as Mr. Gavitt or The King of Calypso by his neighbors in Cahuita, has received many other national and international recognition for his work.
The Life of Walter Ferguson
Walter Ferguson Byfield, better known as Walter Ferguson or the “Calypso King,” is a Costa Rican musician born on August 17, 1919, in the province of Limón. He grew up in Cahuita, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, where he developed a love for music at an early age.
Ferguson’s musical career began in the 1940s when he began playing Calypso music, which was popular in the Caribbean region. His music was heavily influenced by the Afro-Caribbean culture of Limón and often included lyrics in a Creole language known as Mekatelyu. His songs touched on social and political issues affecting the Afro-Caribbean community, as well as on themes related to everyday life in Limón, including the region’s flora and fauna.
In the 1950s, Ferguson moved to the United States, where he continued to play music and record albums. He returned to Costa Rica in the 1970s and settled in Cahuita, where he continued to play music and teach younger generations about the importance of preserving Limón’s cultural heritage.
Over the course of his career, Ferguson earned numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to Costa Rican culture. In 1989, he was awarded the National Prize for Culture by the Costa Rican government, and in 1997, he was named a cultural ambassador for the country. He was also the recipient of several international awards, including the Order of Cultural Merit from the government of France and the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship from the United States.
He is a cultural icon and pioneer of Costa Rican Calypso music, whose music and legacy continue to inspire generations of musicians and fans alike.
Music Samples of Walter Ferguson
If you would like a vinyl or audio of the recordings you can check it out at Amazon if you can’t find it locally or elsewhere.
Walter Ferguson Interview
The Tico Times did an interview with him way back in 2006 but is just as interesting to read now as it was back then.