Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Man's Trash is Another's Harmony

As a theme that seems to pop up pretty regularly in the various posts of my blog is the fact I keep finding inspiration in some of the strangest places. This morning, while scrolling through the news feed on Facebook for my account, I noticed that one of the pages I'm subscribed to called Upcycled which is for The Old Cinema located in London which specializes in upcycled and refurbished furniture had an update. It wasn't so much an update as they were sharing a video of a teaser for an upcoming documentary called “Landfill Harmonic”.

ukuleles by Shelly Rickey

As I watched the short video, not only did I find myself wanting to watch more of it but the fact that the passion for music and human ingenuity are able to come together to create something rather special. I found myself wandering the internet to see if there were others who have found ways to create musical instruments from common items that would otherwise be discarded. One of the first ones I came across was actually posted by www.apartmenttherapy.com with a small introduction to Rotterdam artist Shelly Rickey and her ukuleles made from cigar boxes and other materials. They themselves mention that Bust Magazine had featured her before them with her tutorial of how you could make them. 

The Garbage-Men (photo by Robin Rosen) 
As I continued on this hunt, I discovered that earlier this year there was an article on a small teen garage band in Florida calling themselves The Garbage-Men that was posted in Time for Kids. Why would this be any significance to this entire subject? The fact that all of the instruments played by the boys are made of trash. Though not to the degree of what was shown in the trailer for Landfill Harmonic, you can see that there was a lot of time that went into their instruments.

(photo by Norberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images)
Something that causes everything to come full circle to what was featured in the video is actually noted in an article posted by www.theatlantic.com titled Recycling Around the World. The article itself ends up showing various pictures and bits of information on examples of recycling and reusing of materials. Of the 33 pictures shown, number 26 catches my attention which presents a Paraguayan violinist performing with a recycled violin with the following caption:

A violinist with the Paraguayan symphonic orchestra takes part in "Trash Melodies," a program in which musicians play instruments made out of recycled materials, in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 28, 2011. The instrument maker, Paraguayan luthier Nicolas Orue, was inspired by the "Sounds of the Earth," a classical music education project led by Paraguayan musician Luis Szaran.

 It took me a moment to realize that the program mentioned in the short description is by the same education project that is featured in the video. The article itself was posted Nov. 9, 2011 where as the teaser video seems to have been made earlier this month. So I suggest to my readers that if this has sparked your interest, go ahead and keep an eye out for more from this humble Paraguayan group because I seriously doubt that this is going to be the last the community of creative and performing arts has heard from them. 

12/19/2012 - Unfortunately it would appear that YouTube has taken down the video of the 'Landfill Harmonic' due to repeated claims of copyright infringement by third parties. Not exactly sure what's going on but if you're able to do a search, I strongly suggest that you check out the documentary. 

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