Social Issues December 10, 2012
An Orchestra From A Landfill: Kids Make Beautiful Music Out Of Trash

This is a teaser trailer for a documentary about a very special musical orchestra in Paraguay. The young musicians who play the instruments are residents of a garbage dump. And all the instruments played by the kids in the orchestra are made from trash.

The Cateura dump in Paraguay is the final dumping site for more than 1,500 tons of solid waste each day. And the waste is not managed well: the dump has caused the country's most essential water supply to become polluted, according to UNICEF.

That hasn't stopped people from living around the dump. Seven neighbourhoods are located there, with a total population of about 2,500 families. Most residents, including children, earn their living by sorting garbage for the recycling industry.

But something pretty amazing is happening at Cateura. Favio Chavez, who worked for years as an ecological technician at the landfill, decided to teach music to the children of the recyclers.


How do you find instruments in a place where, as one of the film's interview subjects says, "a violin is worth more than a house"? Well, you build them, out of whatever materials you can find.

Chavez used items he found in the dump to build violins, cellos, and other instruments. They are constructed out of oil cans, forks, old wood, beef tenderizers... Whatever can be repurposed to make a working instrument.

Now the kids play in "the recycled orchestra," an orchestra that plays only instruments made out of trash.


The video at the top of the page is a teaser for an in-progress documentary called 'Landfill Harmonic'. The doc is billed by its creators as "a film about people transforming trash into music; about love, courage and creativity."

They're still shooting and shaping the movie at the moment, but they're hoping to release it sometime in 2013. You can visit their Facebook page to keep track of their progress.


Check Out This Symphony, Played By One Guy On Custom Instruments He Built Himself

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