Dance, Back to Earth, Trash

Shake la marimba, beat the drums, mark time with the bass and let the horns shout their secrets. Music. In Colombia, it's a delicious revelry on the dance floor, a gathering of bodies large and small, a combustible chemistry of heat and sweat. And the Latin Latas are using it to deliver a message of environmental awareness.

The Latas are a group of six -Andrea DeFrancisco, Javier Bautista "Kiwwi" Sebastián Hurtado, David Castiblanco, Diana Montes and Vlado Higuera- who are reconstructing their social scene based on a sound relationship with the natural environment. Call it sound recycling. 

What other people consider garbage, the Latin Latas take as raw material for building the most eclectic musical instruments, which shake and blow to create symphonies of junk that tempt even the most timid to the dancefloor. Their combination of pop and Pacific/Caribbean Colombian rhythms is produced on monstrous new instruments like the Herramientarra, a contraction of Spanish herramienta (tool) and guitarra (guitar). 

The Herramientarra is a tool box, a tuning fork, a microphone and bicycle axle, while the Latin Lata's bass comes from the hybrid of a leg of a bed, a plumbing wrench, a door hinge, a screw that acts as the bridge and a collection of pins and strings recycled from other instruments.

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The drum kit is thrown together as a collection of old jars, gallons of water, bits of junk, old keyboards and cans, and the llaverimba (llaves (keys) into a marimba of PVC pipes and old keys) produces the sweetest and most melodic rhythms of the ensemble.

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Then there are saxophones and clarinets of PVC, and a bass made from an old LP of classic tango.

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According Colombia's Ministry of Environment, 28,800 tons of waste are generated every day. Only 13% of this is recovered and recycled into production cycle. So the Latin Latas have become cultural advocates for the use and reuse of waste in music and crafts. They call their point of action, "a deep exploration that expands the concept of 'reuse' beyond the boundaries of recycling, to the actual manufacture of musical instruments. For the Latin Latas, it must begin with the re-purposing and re-invention of ideas, which means assuming collectively a constant transformation." via


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