One person's junk is another's instrument: Landfill Harmonic brings orchestra to Regina

A youth orchestra from South America is touring through Canada making beautiful music with instruments made of recycled materials.

Musicians from Paraguay slums performing for Canadian students, delegates

One of the musicians from the Landfill Harmonic plays on her instrument, resembling a cello, made of a metal barrel. (CBC News/Craig Edwards)

A youth orchestra from South America is touring through Canada making beautiful music with instruments made of recycled materials.

The Landfill Harmonic plays instruments made entirely of materials recovered from a landfill in Paraguay.

The group, which has become known internationally through their unique story, is in Regina to perform at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2018.

Guido Romero plays a small saxophone in the orchestra. His father helped him make the instrument out of stainless steel, old keys, small coins, brass and bamboo.

Romero said his dad saw a video online of someone making a saxophone, which they used as a guide.
Romero's saxophone is made of old keys, coins and other recycled metal. (Romero )

Romero and the other musicians, who hail from the slums of their home country, have already spent 18 days in Canada travelling, meeting people and sharing their music.

"This is an opportunity for us to grow, to develop our talent, to develop as a professional in music," Romero said, through translator Miguel Leon. "This is a great challenge, first of all, to master the instrument individually. The second part is to play as an ensemble together with other instruments."

After four performances in Regina, they will be moving on to Vancouver. It's Romero first time in Canada.

"This is a highly emotional experience for me," he said. "Without this orchestra, we never would have had the opportunity or chance to travel. So this is a dream in a lifetime for me and it's all because of the orchestra and my gift of music."

Señor Chavez, the group's founder and musical director, said their goal is to show that circumstances shouldn't hold people back.
The Landfill Harmonics will be performing four shows during their time in Regina. (CBC News/Craig Edwards)

"Music can change lives," Chavez said, in a statement. "Even when we live in the most unfavourable conditions we must never stop dreaming. To have nothing is not an excuse for doing nothing."

The Landfill Harmonics will perform at:

  • Piapot First Nation where they will take part in a cultural celebration.
  • Martin Collegiate where they will play for public and Catholic school children.
  • Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences 2018 where they will perform for delegates.
  • Living Hope Alliance Church on June 1 at 7 p.m. in a public recital along with the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra and a screening of the documentary Landfill Harmonic.