JEDDAH: In the heart of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s rich musical heritage is being revealed for contemporary audiences with a space titled “Music and Antiques,” thanks to the passion of Anwar Idriss, a well-traveled enthusiast, collector and producer.
The space represents the deep-rooted love Idriss holds for music, nurtured in Saudi Arabia and the US, where he spent his formative years.
Taking inspiration from signature Georgian designs, infused by his own style he labels “organized chaos,” Idriss has created an inviting and enveloping atmosphere within Music and Antiques. It is characterized by symmetrical layouts, decorative molding, and a generous splash of warm tones.
The striking maroon walls are a testament to this style, coupled with polished wooden floors that seem to echo with stories with every step taken on them. Wooden shelves, showcasing a vast array of musical artifacts, line the walls, adding depth and history to the ambiance.
It is like a luxurious living room, with its wooden nuances and sparkling chandeliers. But the true marvel lies on the second floor, which has been transformed into a museum of musical collectibles.
Idriss has an enviable musical background, having collaborated with many prominent Saudi and Arab musicians. This expertise includes the production of TV commercials and music videos.
In a conversation with Arab News, Idriss recalled being a part of the last generation to receive formal music classes at Al-Thagour School in Saudi Arabia: “Ever since then my passion for music never died.”
Idriss says the space is a culmination of a “personal dream,” emphasizing that he seeks to foster an appreciation of music without the distractions of modern technology.
The space serves several purposes, including to educate and protect the artistic heritage of generations past. It also acts as a space for live performances, and encourages children to come for rehearsals or simply explore their own passion for music.
“At its core, Music and Antiques is not just about reminiscing; it is about fostering all talents,” Idriss explained.
“We motivate people to thrive on their skills and not to over-rely on technology when it comes to music,” he added.
Smoking is prohibited during performances, and as well as recording performers. The focus is on nurturing artistic growth and expression, not on seeking fleeting fame, he says.
The beating heart of Music and Antiques is its vast vinyl collection, encompassing genres ranging from blues and jazz to R&B, rock, hip-hop, and Arab music.
At its core, Music and Antiques is not just about reminiscing; it is about fostering all talents.
Anwar Idriss, Music and Antiques founder
Idriss proudly added: “This place houses over 4,000 vinyl records, including an original 1931 classic by Ludwig van Beethoven and a 100-year-old piano.”
The treasure trove of unique items includes paintings by local artists, hundreds of vintage cassette tapes, videotapes, CDs, TVs, and audio equipment, including stereos and gramophones.
Posters of American and Arab music legends including Ray Charles, Abdel Halim Hafez and Fairuz adorn the walls, adding layers to the rich tapestry of musical history being showcased.
Idriss handpicked most of the showcased items at Music and Antiques, and he encourages collectors to exchange music-related antiques.
With an eye on helping people to diversify their income, in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision, Idriss welcomes the selling of items by music aficionados and collectors.
“Everything in the place is for sale, and we support and respect all items,” he said.
The response from the Saudi community has been overwhelming, with visitors flocking from all over the Kingdom to experience the magic of Music and Antiques.
Idriss is even considering franchising the concept to spread its unique spirit far and wide.
Looking ahead, Music and Antiques has ambitious plans to introduce the concept of “Tiny Disc,” which allows musicians to create music on the go. It is a testament to Idriss’ unwavering commitment to artistic creation for generations to come.
Music and Antiques stands as a beacon, reminding us of the enduring power of sound in people’s lives.