This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post is one of the first inspired by a forwarded email, but who'd have thought Ode to Joy could sound so good on a violin or cello chucked away in Paraguay, then repaired with old cement sacks and given a new, teen owner? Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).
Music is an international language. Everyone knows this truism, but I felt real excitement when a friend sent over an email vimeo link to the Recycled Orchestra. This stars the most amazing set of teenagers who live in a truly horrible slum on a massive landfill site in Paraguay. There, families earn a living by picking over the rubbish (this isn't glamorous skip diving in a hygenic-ish Tesco's waste bin, it's a totally massive, vile site) and selling what they can recycle. One day a man found the shell of a violin... and decided to try and restore it. The result is a violin with a base that looks like it's made from a stuffed plastic rice sack, or maybe a cement bag. But it makes gorgeous sounds.
As the instruments were built, an orchestra was started... Look at this short video to see the kids of the Recycled Orchestra in action, http://vimeo.com/52711779
A film documentary about the 30-piece orchestra, which seems to have taken the kids a long way from the landfill as they have now played on their fixed up, ingenius instruments in Argentina, Germany and the United States is promised soon, called the Landfill Harmonic. What a way to be inspired to fix stuff up, mend broken bits and generally get creative after seeing even this short trailer. Until then, here's their Facebook page to like, http://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie
Actual movie information (taken from their advance trailer) is:
by Focus Forward Films Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. When orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Favio set up a music program for the kids of Cateura, they soon have more students than they have instruments. That changed when Szaran and Favio were brought something they had never seen before: a violin made out of garbage. Today, there's an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, now called The Recycled Orchestra.
Directed & Produced by: Juliana Penaranda-Loftus
Co-Director & Executive Producer: Alejandra Nash
Executive Producer: Rodolfo Madero
Co-Producer: Jorge Maldonado
Editors: Jorge Maldonado, Jaime Arze, Roberto Duarte
Director of Photography: Tim Fabrizio
Sound: Josue Farina
Consulting Producer: Monica Barrios
Consulting Producer: Helen Hood Scheer
Field Producer: Gisella Duarte
Over to you
Have you ever fixed up an instrument and got it to play? Or are you the sort of person who is always drumming (without the kit/steel pans etc)? Or have you ever passed on (sold or binned) an instrument that a part of you wishes you hadn't... For more info about why we need less, and to do more with what we have see George Monbiot, here.