Edinburgh's new record shop Umbrella Vinyl gets ready to open in Brunstfield's Valleyfield Street
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Edinburgh vinyl collectors and music aficionados alike are in for a treat as the Capital’s latest second-hand record store opens this weekend.
Located in Tollcross, Umbrella Vinyl champions music from all over the world, selling extremely rare records that can only be found once in a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for jazz, blues, calypso, reggae or classical, the new store provides ‘global sounds under one umbrella.’
Founders Nick Langford and husband and wife duo, Josh and Laura Thompson, first met at music festival in Hong Kong in 2015, and after bonding over their passion of music and eclectic tastes, the trio decided to open their own store after reuniting in Edinburgh during the pandemic.
Laura said: “We can’t wait to open our doors and show everyone what stock we have. It’s been a long journey but it’s been an exciting one at that so we’re pretty excited.”
Over the last few months, the team have carried out the laborious task of listening to approximately 3000 records, cleaning 12-inch records using a bespoke ultrasonic device and restoring seven-inch singles by hand. And with just one day to go, and anticipation growing in the local community, the owners are looking forward to welcoming their first customers.
Josh said: “We have an enormous international selection, from the Caribbean, Jamaica, Brazil, music from all over Europe. But I think the thing that really sets us apart is our selection of African music – we’ve most likely got the largest collection of second-hand African music in Scotland.”
Laura, who has hosted her Vinyl Voyages radio show with husband Josh for the last seven years said Umbrella Vinyl shares a similar underlying value. She said: “We basically take people on a voyage around the globe with music that we found from across the world and we love sharing the wonderful and weird stuff that we find. I think that’s also part of the ethos of this shop – to share wonderful music with people that they might not have heard before because we’ve got some interesting and rare stuff in stock.”
Nick also brings a particular expertise to the business. He previously organised a monthly record fair in Hong Kong, providing a space for local record traders to set up stalls and exchange music from around the world. The fair soon became a popular event in the south Chinese city and Nick would later launch his own record label, Vintage Vinyl Hong Kong to record the local music scene.
Nick said: “We wanted it to be an artefact capturing what Hong Kong was going through at the time because it was a big period of change – it was such a lovely way to feel part of Hong Kong.’
The yellow umbrella logo of the shop also holds significance to the trio’s past. Josh explained: “The umbrella is a symbol of the Hong Kong protest movement where we met. But it also symbolises our inclusive attitude and our eclectic tastes so it’s a broad umbrella.”
After transforming the former office unit into a welcoming space where people can browse rare music and painting the shop front a shade of blue titled ‘epic adventure’, Laura said the interest from people online and in person has been amazing.
Laura said: “We’ve had such a wonderful response from the community in the last few weeks. People have been popping their head in and lots of local businesses have welcomed us to the community.”
Nick added: “It’s been extraordinary – just the number of people who are inquisitive and interested about our shop. The message has been profoundly good and it’s really really wonderful.”