The Recycled Orchestra
There’s a youth orchestra in Paraguay that sounds a lot like other orchestras, but is unlike any you’ve heard of before.
Their sweet sounds … are made from smelly trash.
Beethoven from buttons. Mozart from metal spoons. Bach from bottle caps.
They’re called The Recycled Orchestra, and they make their instruments from things they find at Paraguay’s largest garbage dump — which is basically their backyard.
They live in poverty and pollution. Their homes are made of wood, tin, and from items found at the huge landfill. Garbage is everywhere. 1,500 tons of solid waste is dumped there, EVERY DAY, according to UNICEF .
People who live there make a living picking through the huge mounds of trash, finding things that they can recycle or re-sell. The orchestra’s director, Favio Chavez, says a violin would cost more than a house.
It’s hard to imagine living in an environment like that, much less starting an orchestra. But that’s just what they did. Mr. Chavez, the director, is a musician who worked on a recycling program where the landfill is located, in Cateura. He saw that the local kids didn’t have a lot to do while their parents worked at the landfill. He met Nicolas Gomez there, a humble garbage picker with an extraordinary gift for making instruments out of the trash he finds.
The Recycled Orchestra’s motto? “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.”
A film called The Landfill Harmonic is being made about the remarkable Recycled Orchestra. You can watch a brief version of it here. The longer version is still being made.
You can also be part of the story! The film makers are trying to send The Recycled Orchestra on a world tour. If you’re interested, have your adult click on a link here . Maybe they’ll come to your town!