There was a nice side attraction at this year’s Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF), and it was mostly rubbish. Literally.

The KLEFF Eco Music Festival and 1Drum Circle, organised two weekends ago in conjunction with KLEFF, featured an entire line-up of performers whose instruments were made up of recycled garbage and the weirdest everyday items you could imagine.

The Eco Music Festival performers included DrumXLine, KLStompers, Rentak Hijau Didians, Stomp The Rhythm, No Noise Percussion and the Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam (YAWA) Eco Drum Circle.

They used everything from kitchen utensils to traffic cones to create their own brand of eco-awareness performance art. The KLStompers, for instance, all brought rubbish bins from their own homes to use as drums.

The KLStompers performing at the KLEFF Eco-Music Festival.

“We took a lot of our parents’ old stuff, and found the rest from dump sites where they had most of the things we need. The only things we bought were our drum sticks,” said KLStomper player Sonia Shah, 28.

YAWA Eco Drum Circle leader Afiq Safwan Adly, 25, explained why the eco music groups do what they do: “Music is a valuable medium to instill awareness among the youth because it is universal. Everybody can understand music.

“And what we want to show here is that you don’t need to have expensive instruments. You can just play from your heart, from what you are feeling.”

Performers for the 1Drum Circle, on the other hand, were members of the audience. They were given instruments made out of plastic bottles and cans, and were led by Eco-Music Festival organiser Shameer Narindra.

The KLEFF Eco-Music Festival and 1Drum Circle were all about recycled instruments like these shakers.

All that banging and clanging was going on outside the University of Malaya’s Experimental Theatre, where the fifth KL Eco Film Festival was being organised.

It was at the very first Eco Film Festival in 2008 where Shameer, 29, came up with the idea of having an eco-themed music event to go along with the film festival.

“I met the organisers back then and I kept in touch with them. I told them I wanted to have more than just one eco music group performing, but things didn’t materialise until today,” he said.

“At first, our vision is not big; we sent the invites to all six groups (that came to perform at the festival) and our target was to get three of them. Surprisingly, all six groups said ‘yes’ without any questions.”

Organiser Shameer Narindra leading the drum circle.

When asked how exactly does a drum circle make people care more about the environment, Shameer said: “People are always talking about the environment these days, but we want to make it fun. You can have fun with recycling, and this is our way of helping people realise that.”

Looking ahead, Shameer hopes to continue organising the Eco Music Festival and 1Drum Circle every year.

“The plan is to make the Eco Music Festival a whole-day event,” said Shameer. “We could have workshops in the morning and sharing sessions in the afternoon where the eco music groups can share ideas. Then at night, we’ll can have a mega eco music concert.”

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