28 Apr

Community Development through Music

Communities need one common cause to pull everyone together. In Cateura, Paraguay, music is the common denominator that unites residents. Specifically, it’s a children’s orchestra called the Landfill Harmonic.

Musical Instruments Made from Trash

Parents in Cateura don’t have the money to purchase musical instruments for their children. As a result, music wasn’t a big part of the local community, until a local garbage picker changed everything. Affectionately known as “Cola,” he worked together with musician Favio Chavez to craft musical instruments from trash for the children. While “Cola” had never even heard classical music or seen many musical instruments himself, he was able to create flutes from pipes, guitars from packing crates and violins from oil drums, just to name a few.

Located in one of the poorest slums in Latin America, the children of Cateura previously didn’t even have hope of ever picking up a musical instrument, much less learning to play one.

The Recycled Orchestra, otherwise known as the Landfill Harmonic, is a product of a community that worked together to create something magical for its children. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of people like “Cola” and Favio Chavez, these young musicians have a bright future to look forward to.

This incredible story reveals how discarded items can be repurposed into musical instruments that make truly beautiful sounds, while helping to create an amazing transformation in innocent young children.

Alejandra Amarilla produces Landfill Harmonic Documentary

The story of the Landfill Harmonic is truly incredible. No one believes this more than Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla, who dedicated herself to producing a documentary on this incredible group of young musicians.

Production began in 2010, when Alejandra Amarilla and her team traveled to Paraguay to film the young musicians hard at work in their orchestra. The filmmakers returned to the village in 2011 to continue filming and get an update on the progress of three children who had recently joined the group. Filming resumed in 2012 and the team continued to follow the Recycled Orchestra into 2013.

The production team used crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise money to make the film. While their original goal was $175,000, they were able to raise an overwhelming $214,129. The thousands of donors were so touched by the story that they helped the team raise nearly 23 percent more than their target goal.

The extra funds allowed Alejandra Amarilla and her team to finish the film and send the Recycled Orchestra on tour. The group’s official 2014 Recycled Orchestra tour will stop in most major U.S. cities, allowing donors to see the children and hear their beautiful music in-person.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the production team, this story can now be shared with the whole world.