From Trash to Tunes: Landfill Harmonic Tells the Story of the Recycled Orchestra for Children

landfill harmonic

The utterly amazing and touching Landfill Harmonic tells the story of a group of young musicians in the “Recycled Orchestra” who create music with instruments made out of trash.

All of the instruments played by the Recycled Orchestra are crafted out of the likes of water pipes, bottle caps, spoons, forks, plastic buttons and recycled wood found in the landfill near Ascuncion, Paraguay. Support the efforts of the team behind Landfill Harmonic the Movie on Kickstarter to let the story of these young musicians be shared with the world.

Back in 2009, filmmakers Alejandra Amarilla Nash and Juliana Perananda-Loftus wanted to make a film that presented the lives of underprivileged children and youth in Paraguay. Through research and experiences that proved to become valuable stories, the two ladies discovered an incredible project in the slums outside of Ascunsion (Paraguay’s capital). The Recycled Orchestra in Cateura was to become the star of their documentary to show how a “creative and simple solution can bring powerful social transformation to the poorest communities.”

recycled orchestra musicians

Environmental technologist Favio Chavez and hidden genius/trash-picker, Nicolas Gomez, started the Recycled Orchestra when they teamed up to craft instruments made out of trash. The slums of Cateura are built on top of a landfill, which provides the main source of livelihood for the proud and vibrant people of the area. In a community where a traditional violin is worth more than a house, and collecting trash is the steadiest job available, the prospects of joining an orchestra are an incredible opportunity for the youth. As most of the families in the community have no money for real instruments, oil drums found new life as cellos and violins, water pipes and spoons as flutes and packing crates as guitars.

Nicolas Gomez Luthier & Garbage picker

Having begun filming in 2010, the documentary team has continued to return to the slums in Cateura to capture the development and progress of the Recycled Orchestra. The team is now looking for additional funding to finish their Landfill Harmonic film and showcase it to the world. There are only 5 days left to reach any of their numerous goals (the highest would be to organize a world tour for the Recycled Orchestra), so check out the Kickstarter campaign to view the compelling trailer and learn the details.

Recycled Orquestra Cateura

The Recycled Orchestra has offered the children and teenagers in Cateura a much brighter alternative to the world of drugs and alcohol that prevail in the slums. Landfill Harmonic the Movie follows the stories of these kids and their families, bringing inspiration, humility and awareness to worldwide audiences. The team behind the film also aims to work the world’s largest Musical Instruments Museum in Scottsdale, AZ to set up a permanent exhibition of recycled musical instruments and the Recycled Orchestra. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, there are plans to bring the Orchestra to the exhibition opening in Arizona in 2013, and around the US on a concert tour. Support this heartfelt project today – a mere $20 donation will get you a DVD of the Landfill Harmonic film, which is to be released in 2014.

Images: Landfill Harmonic