Escopetarras: Riffs not Rifles, Ballads not Bullets

Three years ago Columbian musician, Cesar Lopez, while standing outside a bombed Bogota social club, noted some similarity between his guitar and a soldier’s rifle. The notion was born to subvert the dominant image that firearms have in his country, and elsewhere. Cesar partnered with musical instrument craftsman, Luis Alberto Paredes to create something different to the violins and guitars he’d been fashioning for the past 40 or so years. Between them they fashioned the Escopetarras (Spanish for ‘gun guitar’). The first were made from Winchester rifles, though more recently AK47 have been employed. Various well known performers (Argentinean Fito Páez; Colombian Juans; Colombian Shakira; Mexican Julieta Venegas, and possibly even Paul McCartney), have apparently been provided with Escopetarras for use at concerts for songs that decry terrorism and military violence against civilians. Juans’s escopetarras was auctioned last year, raising $17,000 USD for victims of antipersonnel mines. This story has been doing the rounds during the past year, but has come back to the fore with a recent Reuters interview with both the musician and craftsman. "At first it was a challenge," said Luis Alberto, "It's a paradox to take something that kills and transform it into something to please people." If we read various Spanish posts correctly, Cesar Lopez is planning a November performance, using a multitude of such instruments under the banner of ‘Orchestra Neutral’. Via ::Reuters.

See also the Peace Art Project.

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