Meet the Spanish orchestra making sweet music with trash

The Spanish Recycling Orchestra is a group of dedicated musicians who are as passionate about caring for the environment as they are about making music
The Spanish Recycling Orchestra is a group of dedicated musicians who are as passionate about caring for the environment as they are about making music   -   Copyright  Ecoembes
By Mohamed Elashi  & Alberto Chelleri

SCENES shines a spotlight on youth around the world that are breaking down barriers and creating change. The character-driven short films will inspire and amaze, as these young change-makers tell their remarkable stories.

In a music hall in Madrid, Spain, you can find a group of musicians sitting with their instruments. As they play, each note seems to swell up from within them before being released enthusiastically into the air.

Cellos, violins, and flutes all join together to create a beautiful symphony that fills every corner of the room. You would never guess that this melodic sound is created using instruments made purely from recycled material.

The Recycling Orchestra is a group of dedicated musicians who are as passionate about caring for the environment as they are about making music. Cristina Vazquez, the lead violinist of the group, says that producing music in such a way is a very fulfilling experience.

"You realise how good it is to recycle by looking at those violins and how good they sound," Cristina tells Scenes.

Alberto Chelleri
The instruments in the orchestra are made from used materialsAlberto Chelleri

'A second life.'

The orchestra makes their instruments from discarded trash. But, what other people see as trash, they see as an opportunity to create music. "Most of the materials we use are recycled or are parts from other violins that have been thrown away," Cristina explains.

Eva Ndjomo, a violinist at the orchestra, says that making their instruments out of recycled material is essential to them. "You can give a second life to the material we see as trash. And in this way, we can also help the world by recycling," Eva says.

A unique experience.

For these young musicians, recycling is not just an environmentally friendly way to play music but also an economically feasible one. Musical instruments like violins and flutes can be costly, and many members of this orchestra come from underprivileged backgrounds.

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Cristina tells Scenes that her life was hard before she joined the symphony, but now it's betterEcoembes

"Before I entered the orchestra, my life was a little more complicated. I had terrible results at school, and many bad things kept happening to me,' Cristina tells Scenes.

Nelsy San Martin, the orchestra's flutist, explains how recycling helps them save money. "Instead of spending a lot of money on a new instrument, we use other materials to build these instruments," she says. "With one of the flutes, we used bottle caps as keys," Nelsy adds.

Members of the orchestra say that the recycled materials give their instruments a unique and charming sound. "There is a difference between the sound of a traditional violin and a recycled one, but it is still just as wonderful," Eva explains.

Unexpected Origins.

The Recycling Orchestra is not the first musical group to perform in Madrid. A similar orchestra from Paraguay inspired the ensemble's formation after being spotted by Queen Sofia of Spain.

"Queen Sofia saw the Orchestra and was very interested in doing a similar project here in Spain," Cristina says. Shortly after, the concept for a recycling orchestra made its way to Spain.

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Queen Sofia of Spain was inspired to establish the band after seeing a Paraguayan orchestraEcoembes

These recycled instruments have provided Cristina and others like her with opportunities they would not otherwise have. As a part of the orchestra, they have performed in productions worldwide, including the famous stage adaptation of 'The Lion King'.

"It was an amazing experience because I felt like being part of the musical show," Nelsy tells Scenes.

'It's like therapy.'

Despite such accolades, the members say that their most significant accomplishments are the connections they have created with each other and the music.

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They appeared in The Lion King musical adaption as part of the orchestraEcoembes

"I'm very proud to be in this orchestra and to have been a part of everything we've done together," Eva says.

The music they play has become a form of therapy for them. "When I'm playing surrounded by 50 instruments, it's like a force that you feel, and you realise that you are not alone. I come out like a new person," Cristina explains.

Eva echoes this sentiment. "The best thing is the joy of playing music altogether and enjoying every moment with my colleagues," she says.

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The best thing for Eva is getting to play music with her colleagues and enjoy every momentEcoembes

A true inspiration

The Recycled Orchestra has become an inspiration not only for the environmentally conscious but also for people who come from poverty-stricken areas.

The orchestra is a source of hope and inspiration for their community. They are proof that with determination and creativity, anything is possible.

Additional sources • Monazza Asif Farooqui