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Spanish orchestra makes music from recycled junk

The project, dubbed ‘Music of Recycling’, aims to breathe new life into discarded junk while also benefitting youths from disadvantaged backgrounds

Cristina Vazquez, a Roma teen who grew up in a Madrid shantytown, never imagined herself playing the violin.

But today she is first violinist in an inventive orchestra bringing together two dozen other disadvantaged youths, using instruments made from recycled materials.

The project, dubbed “Music of Recycling”, aims to breathe new life into discarded junk while also benefitting youths from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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She hesitantly joined the orchestra at age 12 when it was part of the curriculum at her school in the southern district of Vallecas, one of Madrid’s poorest neighbourhoods.

“The orchestra has really opened me up to the world… I had never even gone to the centre of Madrid,” she said.

“It fills you with pride when a young girl comes up to you and says: ‘When I grow up I want to be like you’.”

“Instead of meeting up with friends, I preferred to listen to music, play it, and little by little it became a way of life,” he said.

Music “allowed me to escape life’s problems,” said Munoz, who sees himself becoming a professional flamenco percussionist.

After Ecoembes invited the Cateura orchestra to perform in Madrid in 2014, the group decided to found its own similar ensemble that same year, said Víctor Gil, the director of Music of Recycling.

– Career springboard –

Now after having performed in cities across Spain, “we already have four boys studying in scholarships at music schools and public conservatories,” he added.

Meanwhile, more than 100 children are taking music classes from members of the orchestra as part of the project.

He said he tries to make the instruments as close to their “normal” shape as possible so the children won’t have difficulty playing regular equipment in the future.

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