Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

Landfill Harmonic is a forthcoming feature-length documentary about an orchestra in the Cateura Dump, Paraguay, where child musicians play instruments made from waste materials. It shows their rise through music from a life of danger and poverty.

The video crew: Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Fabrizio shot the early footage. Graham Townsley and Neil Barrett are shooting the full-length feature doc of which this is a part.
Quotations from Norman Lebrecht's blog

Favio Chavez, director of the Recycled Orchestra, worked as an ecological technician at the dump. One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments,” he explains.But it got to the point that there were too many students and not enough supply. So that’s when I decided to experiment and try to actually create a few.”

Cateura, on the banks of the Paraguay River, the landfill receives over 1,500 more tons of solid waste each day. Poor management of the waste has caused critical pollution to the most important water source in the country and threatens the health of its residents.

There are seven different neighborhoods built around the landfill, accounting for over 2500 families living in close proximity to dangerous waste. Drugs and gangs add to the dangers.

Whole families, including children, are employed by the landfill as garbage pickers. Poverty forces them into child labour and keeps them from getting educated.

Working beside the families for years Chávez eventually made friends and became acutely aware that the children needed something positive in their lives. He began using the trash in the landfill to create instruments for the children.

Paraguay has one of the world's highest inequality ratings. For more news of Paraguayan poverty, the struggle by poor peasants and indigenes against greedy landowners, the rightwing coup against reform president Lugo, and the “green desert” created by soy monoculture -- see 
UNICEF, Web Guide Paraguay, Global Voices Online, Wikipedia, IPS, and Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) in English and en español.

1 comment:

R.E. Hogan said...

simply, poetically beautiful!

Richard Hogan