Somewhere along the way in my collecting travels, I picked up a collection of audio letters, recorded and mailed in the mid 1960's, from someone living in England to a family member living on Staten Island. Both share the same last name, and the resident of England even lived on a street which carried her own last name (see scans of the tape boxes, below).
The tapes typically contain conversation from the sender (occasionally there are two voices on the tapes), interspersed about evenly with various pop songs from a variety of countries, languages and styles.
And that's where what I know about these tapes end. Because the people on the tapes are not speaking English - I don't know what language this is - and the person who does about 90% of the speaking on the tapes has, by far, the most unusual speaking voice that I've ever heard on the hundreds of audio letters I've collected over the years. I don't know if it would sound quite so otherworldly if I understood her language, although I suspect it would. And without knowing the story behind the reason her voice sounded this way, I'm not going to speculate on the reasons for her unusual sound. She sounds quite elderly, but even on that I could be mistaken.
These tapes - like the vast majority of audio letters I find - are on 3 inch reels. I've made copies of two of the apes here. One is labeled "birthday greetings", and the other one says nothing more specific than "rec'd 6/9/64", which is written on an inner flap of the packaging.
Like most of the tapes, each of these four sides starts with a musical offering. In each case, the tapes alternate between music and talking, with 2-3 minutes of talking in between each 2-3 minute song. The first tape has about 13 minutes to a side, the second one ("Birthday Greetings") only about 7 minutes to a side. The second person I mentioned who also speaks on these tapes, is only heard here, briefly, on the second side of the Birthday Greetings tape, speaking presumably the same language as the primary speaker.
I find the variety of the music shared here fairly interesting - while much of it is pop music which I think I'd describe as a "continental" style which I associate with the time period, I do find it interesting that several languages are represented - this person did not limit her tastes in music to her own language. By coincidence, the last song offered up is the German remake of "Memories Are Made of This", sung by Freddie, and retitled "Heimweh", which I shared a few years ago in this post.
If anyone wants to offer up information as to what language is being spoken, and even better, some of what's being talked about, I'd be very appreciative! I cannot seem to make the comments to this entry open, so if you want to contact me, please write me via the link on this page.