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How art gets generated.

An Orchestra You Will Not Believe — Heartbreaking and Heartwarming

The Landfillharmonic

The Landfillharmonic

I came across this phenomenon — and I do not use the word lightly — when a friend posted a link to a short film on Facebook with the words, “Too Wonderful.” The link was to something headlined: “Watch the first 54 seconds. That’s all I ask. After That, You’ll Be Hooked, I Swear.” I don’t usually bite when I see such uninformative teases, but this time I did. Wow.

The film is called “The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra,” and it lasts less than 4 minutes. It’s about a town, Cateura, in Paraguay — called one of the worst slums in Latin America — where the children play instruments made from trash, fetched out of the garbage heaps on which their town is built. They play Bach, among other composers, on cellos made of oil cans, saxophones made from drain pipes. The organizer of this orchestra, Favio Chavez, says he started it to keep children out of trouble. But because a violin is worth more than a house there, instead of tempting the kids’ families to sell an instrument they were given, he and his colleagues lit on the idea of recycling the trash into instruments. Now some of the children say they can’t imagine living without music. The film brought tears to my eyes.

Watch it here. That’s a link to a site called Upworthy, a social media site with the mission  ”to make important stuff as viral as a video of some idiot surfing off his roof.”

I had to know more, and discovered that Upworthy followed a shorter film posted on YouTube last January, which ishere. And last April, The Guardian wrote an article about the orchestra, officially known as the Cateura Orchestra of Recycled Instruments, then consisting of 30 schoolchildren.

A documentary is in the works, with money raised online, on Kickstarter.

By Judith H. Dobrzynski, Real Clear Arts, 7/21/13

For the original article, please click here: http://www.artsjournal.com/realcleararts/2013/07/an-orchestra-you-will-not-believe-heartbreaking-and-heartwarming.html

 

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