Guns making music in Juarez

2013-02-14T00:00:00Z Guns making music in JuarezThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The guns that have caused so many deaths in northern Mexico are now making music.

Mechanical hammers ping against ammunition magazines from assault rifles. Gun barrels cut to different lengths ring like marimbas. Pistol parts strike metal plates, like cymbals, to create rhythmic, syncopated sounds.

"It's important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons, as if a sort of exorcism was taking place," sculptor Pedro Reyes said in a description of his project emailed to The Associated Press.

When they were played, he said, "the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost."

For the project titled "Disarm," Reyes said he was able to choose his instruments from about 6,700 guns that were turned in or seized by the army and police in Ciudad Juarez, a city of about 1.3 million people that averaged about 10 killings a day at the height of the violence.

In 2010, Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, had a murder rate about 230 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The nationwide rate for the U.S. that year was 4.8.

"The dramatic thing is that this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the weapons that are seized every day and that the army has to destroy," Reyes said as he demonstrated some of his computer-controlled instruments that played a sort of industrial pop tinged with marimba.

Reyes already was known for a 2008 project called "Palas por Pistolas," or "Pistols to Shovels," in which he melted down 1,527 weapons to make the same number of shovels to plant the same number of trees.

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