This Youth Orchestra Makes Music From Almost Anything

Instruments made from soda cans, skateboards, and plastic barrels are part of this inventive orchestra.

Violin made from recycled trash..

(Vagabondivan /

Colorful musical instruments made from soda cans, skateboards, and other waste are being played by an inventive youth orchestra in Madrid. It is a part of a project that gives a second chance to waste and disadvantaged youth in Spain’s capital city.

The Music of Recycling
The “Music of Recycling” project is run by the environmental nonprofit Ecoembes that coordinates recycling efforts in Spain, according to Euro News. It was inspired by Paraguay’s Cateura orchestra that plays instruments from material found in the trash dump.

After Ecoembes brought the Cateura orchestra to perform in 2014, the nonprofit organization decided that they could start their own recycled orchestra, according to Victor Gil, the director of the Madrid project.

Now there are 100 children participating with instruments made by Luthier Fernando Soler from discarded instruments, wooden boxes, cutlery, and anything else he can find. He tries to make them as close to normal instruments as possible so the youth can transition to playing regular musical instruments.

Changing lives through music
Cristina Vázquez, 18, a Roma youth from a disadvantaged shanty town background, plays a violin made from soda cans.  She joined the orchestra six years ago when it was part of her school’s curriculum. Before that, she never thought she would play a musical instrument. Today, she is the first violinist.

“I am really happy, because it has changed my life a lot,” Vázquez told Euro News. Before she joined the musical group, she had never even left her neighborhood. Now she has a world of opportunity, and she is not alone.

Luis Miguel Muñoz, 18, said that being in the youth orchestra is like being part of a family. It has kept him in school and on the right path. “Instead of meeting up with friends, I preferred to listen to music, play it, and little by little it became a way of life,” Muñoz told Khabar Nonstop. The orchestra, “allowed me to escape from the problems of life.”

He sees himself teaching the younger members of the orchestra and hopes to become a professional flamenco percussionist in the future.

At the first public performance a few months after the founding of the orchestra, the kids couldn’t play more than a few notes in a row, Gil said. But after performing in a few cities around Spain, four of the youth received scholarships in music schools and conservatories.

Fast forward and the young musicians have performed all over Spain, but the pandemic put a halt to live performances. But that hasn’t diminished the hope and dreams of the youth who have been so inspired and changed by music.

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