The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguayan Youth Play Mozart with Instruments Cleverly Made Out of Trash

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” — it’s a saying they’re taking to heart in Cateura, Paraguay, a small town where impoverished families live along a vast landfill. Cateura’s residents can’t afford many things that American families often take for granted, and that includes buying new musical instruments for their kids. Indeed, in Cateura, your garden variety violin costs more than the average home. But that hasn’t stopped the town from assembling a youth chamber orchestra that performs music by Mozart, Beethoven and the Beatles. The instruments they play are made from the trash that surrounds them. Oil cans become cellos; aluminum bowls get forged into violins. And the music they make suffers not one bit. This inspirational story will be told in an upcoming feature-length documentary called Landfill Harmonic. You can keep an eye out for the film by following its Facebook page, and learn more about The Recycled Orchestra by reading this interview. H/T Kim


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  1. Lesley Chapman says . . . | December 31, 2012 / 5:30 am

    That was truly remarkable and fashioning those bits of trash into musical instruments is amazing.

  2. sTEVW says . . . | December 31, 2012 / 7:33 am

    Some of the instruments, like the trumpet, looked like they weren’t made from recycled parts… And the bows / strings, were they recycled?

  3. donna shokeir says . . . | January 6, 2013 / 5:58 am

    Heartwarming to think of the generosity of spirit, time and talent that made this opportunity for the young people who have responded so beautifully. They are now able to enrich the world with their music.

  4. Alexov says . . . | July 19, 2013 / 10:45 pm

    TEVW, obviously not all of the parts of the instruments could be made from rubbish. Big deal. It’s just great that these kids show this enthusiasm for the music and learning to play. Maybe a trumpet or two were thrown out by someone. Big deal. Maybe not all of the instruments were recycled from rubbish. Big deal.

  5. asker says . . . | December 23, 2013 / 10:13 am

    what’s the name of the 1st song?

  6. Evlynn says . . . | February 5, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    Alexov says, “big deal”. Bet a bunch he cannot do it! Perhaps he is a bit jealous and/or envious. And Alexov, what do you show enthusiam for?????? Ragging other people, being a big mouth, and heaven only knows what else…….? Perhaps you would do well to show enthusiam for something a bit constructive.
    God be with you……If your thinking continues on the same line, you could be in trouble in the future. Never too old to change Alexov. Only too stupid perhaps…..???
    These children have accomplished something wonderful and enjoyable. They also love doing it. That is what makes life worth while. Not to mention they are all overflowing with ingenuity. What a really great bunch of Kids.
    Ev

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