“Techno was created by a gay black man in New York City,” said Edward Adames, a quirky, fast-talking Dominican clerk who had glasses and an Afro. He worked at Sweat Records, the coffee shop/record store in Little Haiti next to Churchill’s Pub that boasts vintage vinyl records from Abba to Willie Nelson. Last year, I haunted it, searching the rack as the things music remembers better haunted me. Most days, I hoped to run-into someone I could interview to get a good story.
At the time, I was writing articles for local blogs about the local music and arts scene, and like most writers, I romanticized coffee shops, sipping a hot cappuccino and welcoming the muse. I also chose the dark cave at Sweat Records because it was quieter than Panther’s and cooler than Starbucks. Edward always had an interesting idea about music to share as he made me a special “extra strong” espresso. I was convinced he should have a radio show or blog detailing his theories: “Chronicles of a Sweat Clerk.”
I didn’t just go to hear Edward’s nerdy music facts, search the album racks, or work on stories. I went for the culture. I went to find out what was happening in the local music scene. I went to hear the latest underground music that clerks played. I went for the alternative books and magazines. I went to read a copy of Jai Alai—Sweat Records is one of the only stores that carries the poetry journal. I went for the vegan goodies. I went for the vibe. I went for the people. Usually it was just regulars who would stop in, drift ways from the pub looking for coffee or friends of the employees just hanging out.
But sometimes artists, business owners or far-traveling newbies would drop in looking for records, a gift, coffee or tea and strike-up an interesting conversation.
If Sweat Records hasn’t changed and cool people still work there; it’s still not only a record store but also a place where one can make friends, find out about the latest concerts and happenings in the music scene (locally and beyond), and maybe get some work done on your laptop—they have Wi-Fi. The Little Haiti record shop also hosts live musical acts, album release parties, art exhibitions, “dirty” (often offensive) comedy shows, movie screenings, and the board meetings of cyclist/activist group Emerge.
Even though my days of haunting local coffee/record shops are as far gone as some of them ghosts, I still fondly remember the time I spent there, the nice people I met, and the music they shared.
So, I say cheers to Sweat Records’ as its ten-year celebration approaches. Saturday, April 18, 2015 is also Record Store Day, which the vinyl-record store celebrates every year during their music festival Sweatstock. At Sweatsock 2015, there will be a huge line up of live-musical acts on outdoor stages in the store’s parking lot and at Churchill’s Pub along with merchandise exclusives, food trucks, drinks and more…….
Read more of Ten Years of Little Haiti’s Sweat Records: Celebrating Vinyl Records, Too, at Sweatstock on the MiamiArtZine.com