Music is a huge part of Paraguayan culture. Many villages do not have much in the way of material things, but residents find a way to make beautiful music that resonates throughout the streets. The two most important instruments in the country are the guitar and the harp. These are essential components of the two most popular types of music in the country, the Polka and the Guarania. Other supplementary musical instruments are needed to create supplementary sounds, but Paraguay’s most important types of music are based on these two instruments.
In fact, the Paraguayan harp is the national instrument of the country. Similar instruments are popular in other South American countries. The diatonic harp, which has between 32 to 46 strings, is constructed from tropical wood, cedar and pine and has a rounded neck-arch. The fingernail is used to play the eight to 10-pound instrument in conjunction with music sung in the Guarani language.
Alejandra Amarilla Produces The Landfill Harmonic
Founded in Cateura, Paraguay, The Recycled Orchestra is the creation of music teacher Favio Chavez. Located in the barrios, Chavez gathered a team to search the landfill for materials that could be used to create musical instruments, as the children’s parents did not have the money to purchase them.
When Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla heard about this incredible story, she decided to create a team and head to the country to capture this amazing group on film. The crew started filming The Landfill Harmonic documentary back in 2010, returning in 2011 to get updates on the young musicians.
The documentary showcases the overwhelming power music has on a community and the incredible ability it has to bring people together. Thanks to the support of the people of Cateura, children living in the village have a bright future ahead of them. Not only does learning to play a musical instrument provide these bright young students a talent they can take with them anywhere in the world, it also shows them they’re capable of accomplishing anything they put their minds to.
The Recycled Orchestra Gains Worldwide Fame
As a result of the hard work and dedication of Alejandra Amarilla and her team, the entire world now knows the beautiful story of The Recycled Orchestra.
Alejandra Amarilla led an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to finance the documentary. The original fundraising goal was set at $175,000, but more than 5,000 donors touched by the caused ultimately raised $214,129 to produce the film, proving a passion for music speaks through different cultures.