Recyclable Music

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If we can make music from trash, can we recycle more useful items from waste?

Mumbai Stamp is a unique band conceived and started by percussion maestro,
Taufiq Qureshi. It uses discarded waste items as their instruments and often invites audience members to join in as part of a Drum Circle. It may sound strange to make music from trash cans, plastic bags, aluminum sheets, plastic buckets and the like, but the band makes immensely popular music. Qureshi has used Mumbai Stamp in his rhythm arrangement for many soundtracks of several Bollywood movies, like Dhoom 2, Jab We Met, Bhool Bhulaiya, Goal, Zokkomon and Metro among others.
This experimental music trend started off as a way to create awareness for recycling and to have fun. Qureshi hit upon this idea for his band one day when he was returning from the immaculately clean streets of Singapore to Mumbai and was struck by the amount of waste here, especially in the slums that surround Mumbai airport. He thought of the UK band, Stomp, and decided to start Mumbai Stamp here. The difference is that Qureshi encapsulates the teachings of North and South Indian classical music; and rhythms led by Qureshi have arithmetical calculations of the Taal cycle. The band consists of his students aged from 14 to 29.
Faizan Hussain, his nephew and band member, quotes a key mantra taught by Qureshi: “Rhythm is everywhere… it is the one universal language. We are born hearing our mother’s heartbeat. Even breath is rhythm. It can be found anywhere, even in something as trivial as trash.” Qureshi goes on to say, “Mumbai is filled with trash material. The idea of the band is to create awareness for recycling and to create enjoyable music at the same time.”
Since the band started in 2005, it has come a long way, performing all over India. The green drummers have developed an eye for waste material that can be used as percussion instruments and pick up these unusual items to produce new sounds. They also have jam sessions where the audience can bring their own recycled drumming material and play with the band, making for exciting, interactive workshops.
Well, all this certainly makes you think. If such lovely music can be created from something considered to be as trivial as trash, we can certainly rethink the way we throw away ‘ stuff’. It’s time to recycle and create useful products out of our trash!

Volume 1 Issue 5