We are nearing the end of our visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
A look down the hallway on the second floor reveals that the Museum is as much of an attraction as its 5000 musical instruments from around the world that are on display at any one time.
"Barracuda" pans, tenor pans, (upper), made by Mannette Steel Drums
Our final stop was at a small space in the Museum, but its story is truly astounding. From landfillharmonicmovie.com:
"The story develops in one of the poorest slums in Latin America. Just outside Asuncion, Paraguayans capital; Cateura is the city’s trash dump. It is built on a landfill. Here, people live in a sea of garbage. And they live from garbage. Every day, tons of rotting detritus spill from trucks and people swarm over it to pick the pieces of trash that are their livelihood.
"The people of Cateura may be the poorest of the poor but they are proud and the life of their slum is vibrant. Family bonds, rivalries and friendships are intense.
"Surrounded by stories of drug-violence, alcoholism and destitution, they make herculean efforts to reaffirm their life and dignity.
A few years ago, one of the garbage pickers, “Cola”, an untutored genius of the slum, got together with local musician Favio Chávez to make instruments for the children of the slum. There was no money for real instruments so together they started to make instruments from trash – violins and cellos from oil drums,
flutes from water pipes and spoons, and guitars from packing crates.
The clarinet from the display showed the collection of items that appears on just one instrument.
Buttons, bottle caps, and pieces of spoons are transformed.
And then there is this drum.
Only after a closer inspection, can one determine that the drum head is an x-ray. Looking very closely will reveal an unknown contributor's x-ray of his/her chest.
"With children like Ada and Tania and with the support of many in the slum, Favio slowly put together one of the world’s most unlikely orchestras. It is entirely made of garbage.