Video: The Amazing Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

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Above: The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra from their Facebook page.

This is an amazing video that will grab at your heart.  It is about people in Cateuri, Paraguay, a slum built on a landfill, without any hope of escaping. The Landfill Harmonic reveals a mind-boggling, inventive effort to change that – musical instruments made from trash. In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials – and a youth orchestra is born. Music arises and children find new dreams.

Maria, Noelia and Tania

Maria, Noelia and Tania

A film, “The Recycled Orchestra”, is being made about these children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. The producers note: “The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year.  Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay.  And here they are transforming it into beauty.  Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world.

The film is still in production, work began in 2010 when the producers traveled to Paraguay to film the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. They returned to the village in 2011 to film and check on the progress of three young children who recently

Metal Glue cannister, fork, used strings, recycled wood and tunning pegs. Nicolas "Cola" Gomez, maker

Metal Glue cannister, fork, used strings, recycled wood and tunning pegs. Nicolas “Cola” Gomez, maker

entered the orchestra and resumed filming in 2012 and are continuing in 2013.  They write: “Landfill Harmonic shows how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into beautiful sounding musical instruments, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.”

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  • Reminds me of the band/orchestra of the garbage collectors of the Nishi-Ogikubo yard in Western Tokyo, where I used to live (and where I was elected to the school board).

    Like the Recycled Orchestra, the Nishi-Ogikubo boys made their own instruments, largely out of PVC plumbing pipe and containers it seemed to me.

    They always turned up early for work, doing duck-walks up and down the street and otherwise limbering up for the hard day ahead. Sometimes they would practice in ones and twos before work. As a whole group together they played less often, in the evenings.

    Ain’t music a wonder!


  • I feel humbled to see what can take place with “trash”….This was an awesome experience and I pray for those that live in such a situation!! Thank you for enriching my life with your dedication and talent….Praise God!! Jane Danner