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January 16, 2013


As final arrangements are made to bring Venezuela’s El Sistema to Govanhill (via Stirling’s Raploch), another inspiring story of the transforming powers of music emerges from South America – this time from Paraguay. A remarkable man, who makes his living from scraps recycled from the local dump, with no previous experience began to make musical instruments for local children from stuff he scavenges from the garbage.  The landfill harmonica orchestra has formed, and lives have been changed for ever.


To watch a short video of this inspirational story click here

A cello made from an oil can and pieces of wood thrown in the garbage; a saxophone made of spoons and buttons. These are the instruments crafted by Nicolas, a recycler with no previous experience making musical instruments, living hand-to-mouth by the garbage dump in Catuera, Paraguay. Inspired by this initiative and creativity, Maestro Luis Szaran, director of “Sounds of the Earth,” formed a “recycled orchestra” with children living at the dump. “Our main goal isn’t to form good musicians, but to form good citizens.” Now 30 members strong, listen to the sweet sounds of these recycled instruments and the hopes and dreams of the children who play them.