The orchestra of young musicians from Cateura slum in Paraguay are different from the world famous big bands as they come from poor families which live on separation of garbage. Undaunted by their surroundings, they had hit upon the idea of recycling the trash into music instruments. So, they did and excelled in forming their own orchestra group.
A fork, an oil drum, the handle of a hairbrush, just name it and it is never beyond their imagination for re-use in any musical instrument. Things that may be deemed beyond repair, can be turned into something worthwhile, they say.
The video of their music is already enthralling the audience across the world on YOUTUBE, which is the trailer for an upcoming documentary called Landfill Harmonic. The Paraguan orchestra came from Cateura, a slum that’s built upon a landfill, hence the name of their orchestra.
With more than 2,500 families who live there separating garbage for recycling, illiteracy and poverty is rampant in these families but not imagination. A 2010 UNICEF report said about the slum receives more than 1500 tons of solid waste for seprating and sending it for recycling every day.
The education-starved Cateura’s youngest inhabitants have moved away from the routine of collecting and reselling the garbage to make music instruments of their own and also playing them. Otherwise, the water supply is rare and dangerously polluted, especially on rainy days here.
“A violin is worth more than a house here,” says Favio Chavez, the orchestra’s director and founder. He says it was truly inspiring to make music out of garbage. “My life would be worthless without music,” says another girl in his orchestra.
A young man, Juan Manuel Chavez, nicknamed Bebi, has made a cello fashioned out of an oil can and old cooking tool. The video show him playing the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.
“People realize that we shouldn’t throw away trash carelessly,” says Chavez. “Well, we shouldn’t throw away people either.”