An escopetarra is a guitar made from a modified gun, used as a peace symbol. The name is a portmanteau of the Spanish words escopeta (shotgun) and guitarra (guitar), though all escopetarras to date have been fashioned out of rifles rather than shotguns.[original research?]
The Escopetarra was invented by Colombian peace activist César López in 2003 at a gathering after the El Nogal Club bombing in Bogotá, when he noticed a soldier holding a gun like a guitar. The first escopetarra in 2003 was made from a Winchester rifle and a Stratocaster electric guitar.
López initially had five escopetarras built by Colombian luthier Alberto Paredes, four of which were given to Colombian musician Juanes, Argentine musician Fito Páez, the United Nations Development Program, and the city government of Bogotá, while one was kept for himself. Juanes later sold his escopetarra for US$17,000 at a Beverly Hills fundraiser held to benefit victims of anti-personnel mines, while the escopetarra given to the UN was exhibited at the June 2006 of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
In 2006, López acquired an additional 12 decommissioned AK-47 assault rifles from Colombia's peace commissioner's office, with plans to convert them into guitars and give them to high-profile musicians such as Shakira, Carlos Santana, and Paul McCartney, as well as political figures such as the Dalai Lama. However, a member of the Dalai Lama's staff rejected López's offer, citing the inappropriateness of giving a weapon as a gift; López has said he will try to explain his purpose more clearly. One was also given to Kenyan singer Eric Wainaina on the occasion of the UNODC's 2008 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, to honour his appointment as a UNODC Messenger of Non-Violence.
- Torrone, Phillip (2006-03-11). "Guitar made from AK-47 - The Escopetarra". MAKE: Technology on Your Time. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Colombian musicians organise online, BBC News, 1 June 2006
- Making music out of menace: A Colombian musician has fashioned guitars out of rifles to help spread a message of peace. Miami Herald, March 7, 2006
- Latorre, Héctor (2006-01-24). "Escopetarras: disparando música". BBC World. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Conte, Gabriel (2006-06-15). "La escopeta transformada en guitarra del músico César López será exhibida en la ONU". Desarme.org. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Sites, Kevin (2006-04-24). "Killer Sound". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2007-01-31.[dead link]
- "Eric Wainaina receives a symbol of peace from the U.N". U.N. Information Centre in Nairobi. Retrieved 28 April 2014.