Tunes From The Trash


2017013120170204 (R4)

Just outside the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion lies the town of Cateura. It's an impoverished settlement ranged along the banks of a stinking, polluted river, in the shadow of a giant landfill site. Many of its inhabitants scratch a living by reclaiming objects from the endless ocean of garbage to sell. Recycling of a kind. But for the last ten years the residents of Cateura have been part of a recycling project of a much sweeter sort.

La Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura -- the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura -- use materials from the landfill site to create musical instruments. An oil drum for a cello, a pipe for a flute, a tin can for a guitar. They've toured the world and recorded with the likes of Metallica.

As the Orchestra leader Favio Chávez says, "The world sends us garbage. We send back music."

The BBC's South America Correspondent Wyre Davies visits Cateura, meets Favio Chávez and other members of the Recycled Orchestra and learns how trash, and lives, are being transformed by music.

Readings by:

John Norton

James Murphy-Johns

Lila Smith

Yahlini Smith

Producer: Martin Williams

For more information about the Recycled Orchestra:

The Recycled Orchestra have been the subject of a recent documentary film:

And an illustrated children's book: