"It's about the transformative powers of music, it's about resiliance in the face of extreme hardship," says KMFA's Karen Bernstein, summarizing the themes of Landfill Harmonic. This feature documentary follows the Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura from humble beginnings to international fame. At its SXSW premiere, Karen Bernstein spoke with Director and Editor Brad Allgood, and Noellia, one of the documentary's subjects, who plays a cello made from a tin barrel and pallet wood.
It's "a very unique orchestra that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage," says Brad Allgood of the orchestra. All of the instruments the orchestra members play come from Paraguay's largest landfill, located in Cateura, where gancheros (Portuguese for "recyclers") rake through detritus each day and create anew.
Coming up through the landfills of their country, the orchestra has performed everywhere from the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Brazil to national tours with Stevie Wonder, Megadeth, and Metallica. The documentary film enjoyed an emotional and joyous premiere at SXSW in 2015.
After the world premiere of the documentary feature film, the SXSW audience in Austin was treated to a partial performance of Pachelbel's Canon:
Header photo credit: Brad Allgood
KMFA 89.5 recycles your unused instruments each year during the Fall into Music Instrument Drive to put these instruments into the hands of area youth who would not otherwise be able to afford a musical instrument.