Paraguay's Recycled Orchestra Provides Hope and Education for Youth

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(Photo Courtesy of the MIM)

If you are a music lover, chances are you’ve stumbled across a viral video trailer on Youtube called the Landfill Harmonic.The film opens with images of the small Paraguayan village of Cateura—a slum built atop of a huge landfill. The families that live in Cateura make their living by recycling trash and selling it. In 2006, Visionary teacher Flavio Chavez decided to start a music program for the children in the area. With no funds or means, he, along with community members, turned to the resources at hand- and decided to build instruments from trash. Chavez's ingenuity and passionate belief in the transformative power of music now gives the children of Cateura hope: a thriving music school and a youth orchestra that performs internationally.

The Recycled Orchestra makes their US Debut this week at the The Musical Instrument Museum. K-Bach's Jane Hilton chats with MIM curator and ethnomusicologist, Dr. Daniel Piper.

On Saturday, August 10, MIM will host a full day of activities honoring the Recycled Orchestra, all free with museum admission. The day’s events will include performances by the Recycled Orchestra and multimedia artist Joe Willie Smith, the formal dedication of the Recycled Orchestra exhibit, recycled instrument crafts for children, an instrument drive held in conjunction with Ear Candy Charity and more fun and inspirational activities. For more details, visit