Landfill musicians of Paraguay win a a slice of US prime time

Landfill musicians of Paraguay win a a slice of US prime time


norman lebrecht

November 18, 2013

The deprived Paraguay kids who make their own instruments out of trash were featured on CBS 60 Minutes this Sunday. Press release below.


landfill violin


Scottsdale, Ariz. (November 14, 2013) – Landfill Harmonic, a documentary that sheds light on the transformative power of music, will be featured on 60 Minutes on November 17. Landfill Harmonic tells the story of “The Recycled Orchestra,” which consists of a group of children from a shantytown called Cateura in Paraguay, who play musical instruments made from trash.

This project, founded and executive produced by Alejandra Amarilla, began in 2009 and is planned for release in 2014. Working alongside her is Phoenix-based producer Juliana Peñaranda-Loftus, and executive producing partner Rodolfo Madero.

“Being born in Asuncion, Paraguay, I dreamt of the opportunity to help my country and bring awareness to issues that revolve around children and women,” said Amarilla. “The documentary is a major step to garner support for The Recycled Orchestra and inspire general audiences to recycle objects, restore their livelihoods and provide hope for younger generations.”

The documentary tells the story of a humble garbage picker and shows his ingenuity to create instruments out of recycled materials. The documentary also follows a few children, the music teacher and the luthier who creates the instruments. This story gives the audience insights into not just the history of how The Recycled Orchestra came to be, but the incredible and unexpected journey the orchestra has experienced. The film takes the audience on a three-year journey which includes the orchestra’s first concert abroad in Brazil.

The project expanded in early 2013 when Amarilla and her team launched a Kickstarter Campaign to secure funds to complete the film. The campaign garnered nearly 5,000 backers and more than $200,000 in less than two months.

Landfill Harmonic strives to educate audiences on recycling and sustainability topics through social media and partnerships with environmental organizations.

For more information on the Landfill Harmonic and executive producer, Amarilla be sure to check out 60 minutes Overtime, dubbed as the web show that picks up where the television show leaves off.




  • Pete says:


    And not a bureaucrat, NEA commissar, or overpaid conductor within a thousand miles…

  • V.Lind says:

    Doubt they’ll get an hour of prime time. 60 Minutes is a magazine show that typically runs three items and a closer. But it’s a great leap forward for this wonderful and inspiring little group.

  • Eric says:

    Well, they don’t win an “hour” on 60 Minutes. They’d be featured in a segment on the hour-long program, so it’d probably be about 10-15 minutes.

  • Zenaida says:

    Here is the link to the item (all 13:19 minutes of it, as is usual for 60-minute format) which ran yesterday:

  • Marguerite Foxon says:

    Good on them. Shows the transformative power of music. A couple of years ago I saw a documentary on a group of African kids who’d done the same thing. Inspirational.

  • Laurence Glavin says:

    I was wondering if these youngsters in their travels were invited to an orchestral concert in some European metropolis. If so, I hope it’s in the documentary. Imagine the experience of sitting in an acoustically excellent hall and hearing close to one-hundred trained musicians perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony or the Dvorak ‘Cello Concerto! The word “epiphany” comes to mind. (I chose these as two examples of truly great music that is apprehensible by many)