Many thanks to Heather for the photos, words and sheer Sherlock Holmes zeal of this post.
It all started with an old record. Jalal Aro wanted to hear it, but couldn’t — not without the right machine. The quest to find that machine sparked a love affair that has bloomed into a business, and one of Paris’ most fascinating private museums.
I visited Jalal recently with my friend Des, author of the marvelous Soundlandscapes blog. As we walked along the Boulevard de Rochechouart, Des pointed to a succession of shops devoted entirely to musical instruments and sound recording.
It was a fitting location, Des explained, because this used to be one of Paris’ biggest entertainment districts. Looking at this mainly commercial street I struggled to imagine it full of cabarets and theaters, music spilling into the streets. But a quick Wikipedia search confirmed the boulevard’s pedigree: It was home to Rodolphe Salis’ famous Chat Noir cabaret, among many others.
Théophile Steinlein’s original advertising poster…
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