Ernesto’s taking vinyl for another round

The revival of vinyl is being championed by Hout Bay music aficionado Ernesto Garcia Marques.

Two years ago, Mr Marques, together with several other vinyl traders around Cape Town, began hosting the Obs Vinyl Fairs, held at the Touch Of Madness Restaurant in Observatory.

With the closure of music chain Look & Listen, they saw a gap in the market for lovers of vinyl, and, noticing Facebook pages for vinyl trades springing up, they started to collaborate at the vinyl fairs. The next such event is at Touch of Madness on Saturday July 1.

Growing up in Johannesburg, Mr Marques fell in love with music at the age of 12, playing lead guitar in a short-lived rock band.

“I enjoyed classic rock, but I was also a closet punk, very much embracing the lifestyle,” he said.

“While I wasn’t going to have a music career, I always loved records. When I moved to Cape Town, I started selling records at the Milnerton Market. That was how it started.”

He said the Obs Vinyl Fairs enjoyed the support of all ages, from 18 year olds to people into their 70s.

“In my opinion, MP3s will never equal the sound you get with analogue. At each fair, we have about 1 500 records for sale, covering most genres. You find a lot of classic rock and reggae, although none of us stock classical.”

People, he said, also loved the album art, and many was the occasion that people did not know the name of an artist but would recognise the music by its cover art.

“I don’t think vinyl will ever die. CDs, on the other hand, might die.”

He knows music chainstores have hopped on the bandwagon and are also stocking vinyl, but he said these records were 180 gram pressings. “These are massed produced and are not of good quality. It’s really just a case of the manufacturers getting product to market.”

It saddens him how artists like Prince and David Bowie only became popular again after they died.

“I had four David Bowie albums for about a month, but in the week following his death I sold them all. That is quite sad.”

One of his aims is to get local artists to put out their music on vinyl. “We already have one artist, Lucy Kruger, who has done this, and I would definitely like to see more of this.”

Mr Marques is also part of the initiative to help struggling musician Neilen Marais, who was the singer/songwriter for South African alternative rock band Falling Mirror, established in 1978.

Mr Marques said Marais had suffered mental health problems, for which he needed medication, after the band stopped recording.

Unable to work and earn and income, Marais had ended up living on the streets.

Money to help Marais, raised through pledges, donations and auctions, is being administered by the local non-profit Homeless and Poor People’s Initiative.

“In order for this to be a continued success, we need to raise more money to keep Neilen in the care home he has been placed, so we are counting on the members of the community to show their support with cash donations or music-related items,” Mr Marques said.

If you would like to help, call Mr Marques at 074 888 3456.