Written by Shivani Kava
Every Thursday night, a pair of music schools in Bandra and Chembur devote themselves to keeping alive the dying tradition of listening to vinyl records.
The school, Adagio, organises vinyl nights on alternate Thursdays at its two branches. The sessions begin at 8.30 pm and last several hours for regular musicians, students, regular visitors and first-timers to discuss the album of the night. Albums are chosen mostly from founder Aman Gujral’s large collection of records. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own records.
Adagio, which in Italian means ‘at ease’, was opened in Chembur in February 2016 by a bunch of musicians to offer training in several instruments. While still operating from a single location, organisers curated records as per monthly themes. After expanding to Bandra, these themes change weekly. Ever since the sessions became a regular feature, organisers have played records by the biggest names in rock, jazz and pop – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, B.B. King and Michael Jackson, among others.
On Thursday, the Bandra branch played ‘Appetite for Destruction’, the classic 1987 album by Guns N’ Roses, that features the anthems ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and ‘Sweet Chil O’ Mine’, among others.
The listening sessions in Chembur take place in the basement, the staircase to which has the lyrics of Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ carved on it. The large room, which has a well-stocked library leading up to it, now accommodates more than 100 people. Most Thursdays though, there are no more than 50 people brought together by a similar taste in music.
Gujral said that the sessions are free for students, while visitors are required to pay Rs 300. “Listening to vinyl records is soothing and when your favourite band is being played, it is a real treat,” said a regular visitor.
Adishri Amrute, a college student and member at Adagio, described the sessions as good as listening to bands play live. “Every album and every artiste has a different story to tell and after you have heard the whole album, you are actually able to relate to the lyrics in the songs,” she said.
Gujral added that the idea behind the sessions is to promote the culture of listening to analog records in the era of digital music. “In this digital era, we want people to cherish the experience of listening to analog music,” he said.
Another regular visitor added, “One can experience music keeping all worries aside. This is a great place to indulge in soulful music or to just disconnect for a few hours and socialise with strangers over an album. Vinyl Nights are all about immersing into pure music away from reality.”