Colombian musicians turn guns into guitars to make music - as well as a point

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Colombian musicians turn guns into guitars to make music - as well as a point

It's not long after you enter the world of Cesar Lopez that you realize he doesn't color inside the lines.

He is a classically-trained musician and composer who studied at Colombia's best conservatory. But instead of concert hall performances he chooses to play his music on the streets of Bogota. He writes all of his songs on air-sickness bags he collects during his travels.

"It's appropriate," he says, "because I feel I'm vomiting up what I have inside me."

But despite the description, the music he composes and plays is haunting and beautiful — hardly repulsive.

His comfortable Bogota apartment is filled with the tools of his trade, a baby-grand piano, guitars, amps — as well as the evidence that his subversively creative mind has few boundaries.

Near the piano, on a black stand that resembles a bipod, sits a Winchester lever action rifle. On its polished barrel are four hash marks, representing, says Lopez, the four people killed by it.

But there's much more to the gun than its history: six metal guitar strings stretch from the mid-point of its wooden stock, across the loading chamber, past the fret board threaded over the weapon's barrel, ending at a guitar neck flaring past the muzzle.

It's part of project in which Lopez transforms weapons of war into instruments of killer sound, using them in a kind of political performance art.

"What we want to create is an invitation to an attitude of change," he says. "It says a lot of different things — but the main idea is that weapons can be changed from an object of destructiveness to an object of constructiveness."

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VIDEO

Here's a man that takes weapons and turns them into guitars. He wants to change the attitude of destructiveness into constructiveness. They are a group of about 100 that call themselves Battalion of Immediate Artistic Reaction — musicians and political activists. The 40 years of war has grown old and they want to change things. When they hear shooting they play their guitars in the streets.

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By YCON: posted on 25-4-2006








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