The world sends us garbage… We send back music – the children of Cateura and their “Garbage Instruments” – Los Reciclados

Mozart played on oil drums!

Just outside the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion sits Cateura, a massive landfill that receives 1,500 tons of new rubbish each day. The dumping site’s surrounding neighborhoods are home to several thousand families who make a living by sorting through its rotting waste, and separate out whatever can be sold to the local recycling industry. According to UNICEF, Cateura is a community marked by extreme poverty, illiteracy, and pollution.

It’s also home to an orchestra—one made up of local children whose instruments are made entirely from recycled garbage.

This is an article in TakePart amplifying my earlier post on Cateura’s collaboration with Berta Rojas.

It’s an intriguing story of a musician, Favio Chávez, who got together with a rubbish collector, Nicolás Gómez, to make instruments together using packing cases, oil drums and old bottles.

“If you paint your village, you paint the whole world”

imageBerta Rojas‘ new album “Salsa Roja” was released last month, paying tribute to her beloved Latin America. But what makes this collection of music extra special is the collaboration with the Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura — or Landfill Harmonic Orchestra — a 19-member ensemble comprised of children from Asunción, Paraguay who perform using instruments they have built from recycled trash. Berta is also working to design what she hopes will be the Cateura Music School, the town’s very first music school with real instruments.

In case you didn’t catch it, this heartwarming video is a backstage look at the project she was involved in, in her native Paraguay, with composer and conductor Edín Solís and the children of Loma San Jerónimo. Continue reading