The Incredible Landfill Orchestra

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 28 2012 10:59 AM

The Incredible Landfill Orchestra

Above is a teaser trailer for the documentary Landfill Harmonic, about “Los Reciclados,” or “The Recycled Orchestra,” part of a youth music program in Paraguay. Los Reciclados are from Cateura, a poor city that houses “the final dumping site for more than 1,500 tons of solid waste each day.” Alejandra Nash and Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have been working on the movie for the last two years, following three members of the orchestra in particular.

If you do not lose it a little when 19-year-old Juan Manuel Chavez starts playing Bach’s Cello Suite no. 1 on an instrument “made from an oil can, and wood that was thrown away in the garbage,” then you are made of sterner stuff than I.

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You can learn more about the movie on its Facebook page, and more about the music program, Sonidas de la Tierra, at its website.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.