Paraguayan Youth Orchestra Converts Trash Into Instruments, Inspires Documentary Film

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It’s a story destined for the big screen: a group of Paraguayan kids with little money but a big love of music create an orchestra using instruments made from trash.

Using artfully assembled bottle caps, pipes, tin cans and other miscellaneous garbage, they create beautiful music in a desolate landscape.

Indeed, that’s the premise of the new documentary film “Landfill Harmonic” that tells the story of the Recycled Orchestra and is now hitting theaters.

Two dozen of the orchestra’s members traveled from Cateura, Paraguay, to Los Angeles to help promote the film and spoke with KCAL9’s Craig Herrera.

“Kids of their age in Cateura, they don’t have a lot of opportunities,” music teacher Favio Chavez said through a translator. “They may drop out of school. They may start working. They may turn to drugs.”

But the Recycled Orchestra offers a different path. The orchestra’s members have traveled to New York and now Los Angeles to showcase their talents. For many, a life as a professional musician is the goal.

The orchestra has become a central part of life in Cateura, as it has grown to 300 kids in a town with a population of just a few thousand people.

“The orchestra and the music is providing a sort of cultural centerpiece,” said filmmaker Brad Allgood.

Tenor saxophone player Evelyn Riveros gave the film a positive review.

“She likes the film a lot because it shows the reality of what it’s like to live in Cateura,” Allgood said.

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