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From pipes to musical pieces: Brazilian project makes PVC violins for children

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Students play violins made from PVC piping at Locomotiva Project, a free music school for at-risk children in Santo Andre, Brazil September 8, 2021.REUTERS/Carla Carniel

SANTO ANDRE, Brazil, Sept 10 (Reuters) - An orchestra making music from pipes.

This is the driving idea behind the Locomotiva Project which converts polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes into violins and cellos and offers free music lessons to dozens of young musicians in Brazil's Sao Paulo state.

"It's a process that takes a bit of work to do, it's time-consuming," said Ivan da Silva Oliveira, a luthier who makes violins for the project. The production process consists of 42 steps from cutting and heating the pipe to framing and trimming the instrument.

But the savings cannot be denied. A violin crafted by a luthier, who specialises in constructing and repairing string instruments, can cost up to 8,000 reais ($1,540), depending on the wood, Ivan said. Even an average violin is valued at around 800 reais, but the PVC material means the cost drops to around 300 reais instead.

After they started making the violins in 2018, this cheaper solution allowed the organisation to wipe out its long list of youths between seven and 17 years of age waiting to receive an instrument.

"It's a PVC pipe that becomes a violin, with which we make music, play, do a lot of cool stuff. This is magic," said conductor Rogério Schuindt.

In addition to violins, the project also produces cellos and has its own orchestra.

The PVC pipes usually used in construction and hydraulic installations are donated by petrochemical company Braskem (BRKM5.SA).

"It's a sensational thing, knowing that a pipe that carried water now brings music," said Gabriel Santos Espinoza, 11, one of the project's students, hugging his PVC violin.

($1 = 5.1976 reais)

Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto; Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Diane Craft

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