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Kids play Mozart with violins made from garbage

December 15, 2012 • Entertainment


In this Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Nicolas Gomez makes a violin with recycled materials at his home in the Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay’s capital of Asuncion, Paraguay. Gomez, a trash picker and former carpenter, was asked by Favio Chavez, the creator of ìThe Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura,” to make instruments out of materials from the dump to help keep the younger kids occupied. ìI only studied until the fifth grade because I had to go work breaking rocks in the quarries,î said Gomez, 48. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

CATEURA, Paraguay (AP) — The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone.

A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. A concert they put on for The Associated Press also featured Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and some Paraguayan polkas.

Rocio Riveros, 15, said it took her a year to learn how to play her flute, which was made from tin cans. “Now I can’t live without this orchestra,” she said.

Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay’s capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty.

The youngsters of “The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura” performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honor at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

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