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The recycled orchestra

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About[edit]

The Recycled Orchestra is a group of young musicians from Cateura,Paraguay. The orchestra is world renowned for their instruments, which are crafted from recycled materials gathered from a landfill that the city is built upon and around. When Nicolas “Cola” Gomez, a garbage picker realized the potential to re-purpose the waste for young children to use as instruments. He approached Favio Chavez; a musician doing volunteer work, and together they built instruments for over 100 different students in 2006 [1]

Nicolas Gomez[edit]

Nicolas Gomez grew up in Emboscada, Paraguay. His father died when he was 7 years old which forced Gomez to start working to help support his mother and 9 siblings. After working for 30 year in construction, Gomez moved to Cateura where he got a job as a trash collector and recycler. One day Gomez noticed a piece of scrap metal that resembled a violin. He brought it to musician Chavez and together they built their first violin.

Favio Hernan Chavez Moran[edit]

37 year old Favio Chavez grew up two hours outside of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. He started working at 9 years old and started learning guitar at 11. This was the same year the Chavez became the choir director at his church. Chavez studied environmental technology and in 2006 he began working Cateura. Disgusted with the conditions and recognizing the children’s need for structure Chavez opened a music school. Later he was approached by Gomez and this was the start of the recycled orchestra project.[2]

Life in Cateura[edit]

Caterua, Paraguay houses one of the largest landfills in South America. The landfill receives 1.15 tons of waste daily and scrap collecting and recycling serves as the primary source of income for most residents. There is no basic sanitation or hygiene infrastructure in Cateura. All of the solid waste that fills the city’s lagoon streams in from Asuncion and the surrounding areas. In 2011, the United Nations reported that only 40% of the sanitation services provided to rural areas were affective. It is estimated that there are 40,000 families living in the Cateura landfill.[3]

Landfill Harmonic Documentary[edit]

In 2009 executive producer Alejandra Amarilla contacted producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus about making a documentary profiling the undeserved children of Paraguay. Together; in 2009, they began research and traveled to Paraguay. Eventually, by talking with the Minister of Education the pair discovered Cateura and subsequently “The Recycled Orchestra.” Initial production began in 2010 where the crew spent days with Favio and Gomez learning all about their instruments and documenting how they were made. The production returned in 2011 with a full crew and began principal photography. In November 2012 the production launched a successful social media campaign by releasing a promotional video that gained over 3 million views. The film was later profiled on the television program 60 Minutes. The project is still in production and is under the direction of Ph. D Charles Graham who expects to start post production by the end of 2013.[4]

Outreach/Getting Involved[edit]

Creative Visions Foundation is the non-profit organization that works as the fiscal sponsor of the documentary and accepts donations that directly affect the funding of the film. The production has also set-up an instrument drive that is located at the film’s production studio. The accept all donations mailed in or dropped off at...

Eureka Productions, Inc 4223 Glencoe Ave, Suite C125 Marina del Rey, CA 90292

In cooperation with Creative Visions the production team has set up a volunteer program that helps put participants in direct contact with community leaders and social workers from Cateura. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work in and directly impact the city of Cateura and its citizens.[5]



Fig 1: Favio Chavez with handmade recycled guitar  
Fig 2: "Cola" Gomez displaying handmade instruments of his own design."  
Fig 3: Favio and orchestra students from Cateura  

References[edit]

  1. "The Landfill Harmonic Press Packet." Creative Visions Foundation, 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
  2. "The Landfill Harmonic Press Packet." Creative Visions Foundation, 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
  3. "The Landfillharmonic." The Landfillharmonic. Creative Visions Foundation, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
  4. "Kickstarter." Kickstarter. Landfill Harmonic, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
  5. "The Landfillharmonic." The Landfillharmonic. Creative Visions Foundation, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

"Kickstarter." Kickstarter. Landfill Harmonic, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

"The Landfill Harmonic Press Packet." Creative Visions Foundation, 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

"The Landfillharmonic." The Landfillharmonic. Creative Visions Foundation, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.