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Recycled Instruments make magic

4 November 2019

‘The world sends us garbage. We send back music’

The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura, started by Favio Chavez, recently performed in South Africa. Cateura is a suburb in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay which is built on a landfill site. Chavez came to the town as an engineer and in his spare time started teaching music. Soon realising that musical instruments were unaffordable, he came up with the idea to fashion these needed instruments out of the garbage from the landfills.

Photo: Members of the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura, with their Director Favio Chavez, Mr Roberto Recalde, Charge d'Affairs of the embassy of Paraguay and members of the Paraguayan community

Mr Roberto Recalde, Charge d'Affairs of the embassy of Paraguay in South Africa said that this is the Orchestra’s first performance on African soil.

South Africa is the 49th country that these young musicians have visited and performed in. The Orchestra has played alongside Metallica and Megadeth and performed in some of the great music halls of Europe. Paraguay and South Africa are connected through music said Recalde.

To the delight of the audience this young, talented orchestra, under the direction of Favio Chavez, began their concert with Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. “To us it is just rubbish, but the musicians transform this rubbish into something beautiful, they create magic,” said Chavez.
He introduced the artists and detailed what each instrument was made of. A violin is fashioned from paint cans, an aluminum pot, wooden pallets, forks; a saxophone from water pipes, cans, coins, buttons, keys, bottle tops, spoons; a cello from oil cans and a wooden spoon, a flute from water pipes and coins; and a drum from wooden pallets and x-rays. One soon realizes that music can come from unexpected places and things.

The parent’s Association of the community makes the instruments, and the knowledge of the music comes from the Orchestra director, Favio Chavez. Chavez believes that music unites people, it builds bridges and the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura has given opportunity to so many people in the community, both adults and children alike.

‘Some people look for a more beautiful world, others believe and create it’.

by A Pemjee




February/March 2020


















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