Hidden Gem: Music&Antiques is a nostalgic treasure trove in Jeddah where time stopped in 1999

Hidden Gem: Music&Antiques is a nostalgic treasure trove in Jeddah where time stopped in 1999

In an era dominated by constant connectivity, Music&Antiques transports visitors back to a time where music, coffees and catch ups weren't interrupted by the ping of a phone
01 February 24
Music & Antiques, Jeddah

1999: We were living in a totally different reality.

A seemingly fleeting moment before we would be constantly contented via real-time content, social media platforms, and always-on streaming platforms and the joys of WiFi. It was a time shaped by waiting and anticipation, entertaining yourself and having actual conversations, moments that gave almost everything extraordinary value.

Remember the feeling of having to wait a full year for your favourite band's new album? Or waiting until next week for the next episode of that edge-of-the-seat tv programme? Or movie, or book... Each of these experiences created a sense of significance for each launch.

And its this intangible sense of anticipation and slow living that is captured in Jeddah's Music&Antiques.

Anwar Idriss, the founder of Music&Antiques, a music library, antique shop, and live music platform in Jeddah’s Al Zahraa neighbourhood, wants people to experience that nostalgic feeling. “Time has stopped since 1999 in Music&Antiques. I made sure that visitors are able to live that period while being here,” he says. “So, photography is not allowed, even though many have requested it, because living the experience is much more important than capturing some pictures with mobiles.”

Unlike other business owners, Idriss, a professional antiquarian, does not believe in influencer marketing. He believes word of mouth is the best most effective way to promote. After starting to collect at home when he was a youngster, he began his special journey of accumulating musical items and antiques. He elaborates on how he goes about this, saying: “I travelled to the US about a year and a half ago, collected 3,000 hand-picked vinyl records from various sources, with a goal to amass special and limited-edition records that can’t be found anywhere else in Saudi or the Gulf.”

As you enter Music&Antiques, there’s a familiarity about it that creates a sense of belonging, the kind that makes you feel at home. Amid the “cluttered, improvised, organised chaos,” as Idriss describes it, the walls are signed by those who have played an important part in the “artistry community,” a great symbolism of the love of pop culture, or, as Idriss refers to them, a “tattoo.” The antiquarian, who has an interiors workshop at home, personally worked on the decor, transferring each piece to the arts and entertainment space after creating it. He even designed the logo and came up with the name himself.

Idriss shows great appreciation for handicrafts and supports many women in the field by providing them a space to exhibit at Music&Antiques. In fact, you will find a lot of handmade pieces here, as well as very valuable ones, like the 91-year-old piano, which sat in the French embassy in Riyadh when it was established in the middle of the 20th century. There is also an Elvis Presley suit, which was specially made to be displayed here.

In addition to all the vintage vinyl collections, 70% of which are first editions, there are compilations of cassettes, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs. And you will find new copies every two or three weeks. What’s more, Music&Antiques coordinates with schools so students can tour the living museum as part of a detailed programme.

Loyal friends, including a number of children with autism, visit periodically to admire the many details. And some of them even show off their singing skills on stage during karaoke time. “Everyone is welcome here to sing, even those who do not have the talent or the voice. People who say harmful words to any of the participants while they’re on stage are immediately removed. It is a place where we support each other, and these are our rules,” Idriss says.

In addition to the karaoke corner, the upper floor has a small theatre for live music shows where visitors, rather than professional musicians or DJs, perform. The same floor also hosts Movie Nights and a discussion about the films, which are often classic or suggested by book clubs collaborating with Music&Antiques, after each screening.

Whatever you end up doing at this hidden gem, it’s all about reliving the good old days.

Al Batarji, Al Zahra, Jeddah 23521