Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 30, 2013


Host: José Cárdenas

Landfill Harmonic


  • Landfill Harmonic is a documentary about an orchestra from a remote village in Paraguay, where its young musicians play with instruments made from trash. Executive Producer Rodolfo Madero discusses the film.
Guests:
  • Rodolfo Madero - Executive Producer, Landfill Harmonic
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: documentary, musicians, film, trash, instruments,

View Transcript
José Cardenas: Land philharmonic is an upcoming documentary about an orchestra from a remote village in Paraguay, where its young musicians play with instruments made from trash. We will talk to the executive producer in a moment but first, here is what the land philharmonic is about. Joining me to talk about the documentary is executive producer Rodolfo Madero. Welcome to "Horizonte." That's amazing. Kind music that the union manning was getting out of that cello was just fantastic. And you have got one of the instruments here with you.

Rodolfo Madero: This is a Viola. A violin. And this is one of the instruments that these kids played at the recycle orchestra.

José Cardenas: Let's talk about how the program got started. I think the piece of the video we saw featured the two people most responsible for this program.

Rodolfo Madero: Yeah. One of them is Favio. Favio is a music teacher and he wanted to bring music to underprivileged kids. And he picked Catera as the place. It's the land fill or the dump of dumpster of Asuncion, Paraguay. People live there from trash.

José Cardenas: They are actually living in the land fill area.

Rodolfo Madero: They live in the land fill area and they go every day to pick up recycled materials or material that they recycle and they sell. And that's where the story born.

José Cardenas: He decided there must be some way to make instruments out of these materials?

Rodolfo Madero: It happened by accident. He wanted to bring music to this barrios and he invited the parents to bring their kids. And so they could learn music. And they were expecting a few kids the first day. And suddenly, 50,60 kids show up and there were not instruments to teach all these kids music. So they, one of the people living in the barrio came up with the idea of building instruments out of the materials that they had available there. I mean, oil tin cans and pieces of wood and forks, and they came up with, they created one violin and that lead to a full set of instruments that now it's part of the orchestra.

José Cardenas: As I understand it, as beautiful as the music was that we heard from that one instrument, there actually harder to play than the original instruments that they are patterned after.

Rodolfo Madero: They are. They are. I have a friend who is a violinist and he thought it was going to be fun to play with one of these instruments. And he almost didn't get a sound out of it and he is a concert violinist. He is a professional. But he did. He eventually he did. And they are hard to play. So these kids are doing a phenomenal job of playing these instruments. They are hard to play than a real violin. But once they get their way around the, they start playing the instruments, it sounds beautiful.

José Cardenas: And these kids, their instruments, their music are subject now of a documentary you are working on with some colleagues. Item us how that all got started.

Rodolfo Madero: Alejandra Maria Nash, she is the founder and executive producer of the project. She and Juliana went to Paraguay and --

José Cardenas: They are both originally from there?

Rodolfo Madero: Alejandra is originally from Paraguay and Juliana is from Colombia. And Alejandra wanted to bring to life stories of their people. And hopefully -- and sort of helping those communities.

José Cardenas: And they found this story and they came to you to talk with it.

Rodolfo Madero: Yeah. And they started filming. They went a couple times to Paraguay. And they brought it to me last year. And I became part of the team. And since then, we have gone to two times to Paraguay, one to Brazil, and when we filmed the first time that the kids were living in the country. Some of them didn't even have not passports but birth certificates. They didn't have birth certificates. So there was the whole process of them getting their passports and their birth certificates.

José Cardenas: And that's important because some rather wonderful things have happened since you first started bringing their story to the world in the form of a trailer for the as-yet unfinished documentary. Tell us about that.

Rodolfo Madero: We launch our promotional video hoping to get a few thousand like comments in Facebook in November. For our surprise, we started getting not a couple thousands but tens of thousands. And in the period of a month, month and a half. And from November 30th to February, the middle of February, we had got over 130,000 likes on our Facebook page. And over 3 million people.

José Cardenas: And among those people are, and I want to make sure we cover this because we are almost out of time. Are professional musicians with national orchestras who are now playing with these kids?

Rodolfo Madero: Well, yes and no. They haven't been invited to play to places all over the world. But we have had requests from so many people, artists that want to compose for the orchestra, people in the film industry that want to participate somehow in the film, collaborating with sound editing, all sort of things.

José Cardenas: We only have less than a minute left. Tell us what's happening now with the documentary, when it's going to come out and what the process is.

Rodolfo Madero: Well, we are wishing to end the documentary film in November or December, just in time to submit for the Sundance film festival. We are still filming. We have filming in process. We are going to follow the orchestra to Europe and we are going to have them come here in August to play for the first time in the United States, in Phoenix. There's a permanent exhibition of the museum, musical instruments museum of these instruments that you can go and see now.

José Cardenas: We are talking about here in Phoenix?

Rodolfo Madero: It's here in Phoenix, in Scottsdale. And they are going to come and perform a series of concerts here with kids from schools, local schools that are musicians as well.

José Cardenas: This is a terrific, wonderful story. And I am sure we will have you back and maybe talk some more about this. Thanks for sharing this with us on "Horizonte."

Rodolfo Madero: Thank you very much.

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