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Landfillharmonic - “Los Reciclados” The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura

Timi DiSalvoComment

In the town of Cateura, outside the capital of Paraguay, residents lives are defined by trash. The Cateura Dump, along the Paraguay River has tons of garbage dumped there everyday and the poor locals swarm over to pick through the pieces of trash to use as their livelihood.

Music teacher Favio Chavez came to the town of Cateura to start a music school for local children, but quickly realized the demand was much greater than the number of instruments the school could provide. With help from Nicolas “Cola”, a local garbage picker and luthier, they found ways to craft instruments from the vast landfill surrounding the city, violins and cellos from oil drums, flutes from water pipes and spoons, guitars from packing crates.  They now have an orchestras made entirely of garbage. The Orchestra has grown from just a few musicians to over 35. The music school of Cateura, does not have their own building yet, but teaches music and how to build recycled instruments to more than 200 kids of the landfill.

The Recycled Orchestra has become the focus of international attention over the last few months, after the trailer from an upcoming documentary about the kids went viral. The full-length feature isn’t set for release until 2014, but the buzz surrounding it has already propelled the orchestra onto a small Latin American tour, with plans to expand next year to the U.S. and Europe.

Classically trained violinist Lindsey Stirling who was on America's Got Talent during the 2010 season, has a video "Transcendence"  that included some of the musicians from the Landfillharmonic.