Feature: Musical instruments made from scrap show benefits of upcycling

2021-10-30 10:35:51 GMT2021-10-30 18:35:51(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Zeynep Cermen

ISTANBUL, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- An unused old-fashion glasses case and a reception bell attached to an empty plastic container, along with a synthetic cleaning brush connected to an old drumstick were parts of a musical instrument designed and built by a Turkish music band.

"This is a simple yet rich instrument," Herman Artuc, a Latin jazz singer and percussionist, told Xinhua at the band's studio located in an industrial zone on the European side of Istanbul recently.

"The glasses case gives the sounds of a keyboard... while the reception bell acts as a cymbal, which is widely used in percussion. We also combined a drumstick and a cleaning brush to obtain the scraping sound," he explained.

The three-member band Fungistanbul has been creating musical instruments out of various bits of waste collected from trash cans, junkyards, and zero waste points to draw attention to the growing waste problem and raise awareness on upcycling as much as recycling.

Artuc defined upcycling as transforming an object into a more valuable one and creating something of use.

"Our resources are running out... We do not want to embark on a road of no return," the musician continued, noting that people must always act by thinking about the future, both while producing and consuming.

Roni Aran, another band member, used a small plastic box he found at a trash can, a thin and long piece of wood, and some old wires to build a saz, a type of string instrument used in Ottoman classical music.

"We are trying to express an opinion here," Aran told Xinhua. "By using plastic pieces, we are trying to manifest that plastic is something that we should not use at all."

Aran has first designed his instrument with great concern, worrying whether he would get a decent sound, but the outcome turned out better than he expected.

Several luthiers, professionals who build and repair string instruments, have been constantly providing assistance to Fungistanbul members to get maximum sound quality.

"We have to do constant practices. If some materials do not give the sound we expect, we must drop them and find others," he stressed, adding that there are many alternatives in waste centers or junkyards across the city.

Aran said there is no such thing as garbage as long as objects are transformed into more valuable gadgets that could be used in daily life.

The band has also designed a bass using a plastic can, a bamboo stick, and a clothesline. "When you pull it backward, the notes change," said Serhat Ayebe, a musician and a sound worker, who introduced his instrument after a small performance.

The musicians aspire to cooperate with private sector companies operating in wind energy and solar panels industries to make their voices heard about recycling and upcycling concepts.

When they played at a recent concert at an environmental festival with their transformed instruments in Istanbul, the group received incredibly positive feedback.

The group members also invited everyone to stimulate their creativity to go beyond the routine and produce new ideas and solutions on environmental issues.

"The children approached us, touched the instruments, and asked questions before the concert started," Artuc noted. "Later, when they listened to the music and the rhythm that came out of these objects, everyone was surprised."

In his view, children better understand environmental concepts and are ready to live in harmony with nature. "We want to offer them livable life," he pointed out. Enditem