Cateura, Paraguay is a small city that has grown atop a massive dump. It is regarded as one of the poorest slums in Latin America, a village where people live among a sea of garbage. Incredibly, the landfill itself is the primary form of subsistence for many residents, who pick through waste for items that can be used or sold. Prospects for most of the children born in Cateura is bleak as gangs and drugs await many of them. But then one day, something amazing happened.
A garbage picker named Nicolás Gómez (known as “Cola”) found a piece of trash that resembled a violin and brought it to musician Favio Chávez. Using other objects collected from the dump, the pair constructed a functional violin in a place where a real violin is worth more a house. Using items gleaned completely from the dump, the pair then built a cello, a flute, a drum, and suddenly had a wild idea: could a children’s orchestra be born in one of the most depressed areas in the world? As you can guess, the answer was yes.
Now a group of filmmakers, producers, and photographers are trying to tell the story of the orchestra through a documentary titled Landfill Harmonic. The orchestra seems poised to offer many of the children opportunities outside of the slum— they are already planning a multi-city tour around the U.S. The movie is currently being funded on Kickstarter and just passed the halfway mark today. Watch the video above and you can learn more over on their Facebook. Backed!
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You'll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!