Making music out of waste objects

Making music out of waste objects

Soda bottles filled with ball bearings and beer bottle caps, PVC pipes stuck with cello-tape, wheel of cycle screwed to a drum head. These unassuming objects may be the answer to effective utilisation of waste Bangalore generates.

Montry Manuel, 36, a City-based musician, collects plastic and metal waste and transforms them into musical instruments. A practising drummer for eight years, Manuel has had his share of creating music with conventional instruments that cost a sum. 

However, it was during one of his trips to Sydney and Morocco that he was exposed to street drumming where drums were made of empty buckets of paint. A musician and green enthusiast, the idea struck home with Manuel and he decided to experiment with junk to create musical tools which would not only be environment-friendly, easy on the pocket and produce a unique sound.

This quest led Manuel to collect scrap like bits of steel pipes, springs used in elevators to discarded metal ornamentals used in home decor, apart from plastic bottles and pipes. While most of these pieces, like springs, are used in their original forms, Manuel has used his creativity in creating a few instruments by combining some of these waste elements.

A didgeridoo, for example, is a long and hollow piece of wood – a wind instrument indigenous to Australia. Its length would be about five feet and cost anywhere from Rs 15,000-30,000. Manuel made his own interpretation of it with the help of detachable PVC pipes. The sound of which, according to him, was similar to that produced by an original didgeridoo but with its own uniqueness. 

Since it is made up of unused PVC pipes, the cost of creating one was marginal. Being light and detachable, unlike real didgeridoo, it can be carried around easily. Not limiting to recreating exotic devices, Manuel has also used a heavy lid of fuel drum as gong and upturned a tin of biscuits as drum.

It has been two years since Manuel has been making music with the help of his upcycled instruments. 

Though his music is greatly appreciated by his listeners, other musicians, he says, are still averse to the idea of creating music with instruments made from waste materials. “They are not open to experimental musical instruments. Not being able to control the sound, the pitch, etc, have not made upcycled instruments acceptable,” says Manuel. 

Also, many may not be keen on using instruments made from waste as part of the aura popular musicians have from their use of expensive devices. 

However, both Manuel’s unusual musical contraptions and their music have been appreciated by the audience. “The acceptance by listeners actually help in spreading the awareness that much of the scrap that we throw away can be used to make music,” he explains.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry