Young musicians from Paraguay turn literal trash into tunes

CAMARILLO, Calif. (KABC) -- What may look like useless junk to most people has been transformed into something beautiful, thanks to the creativity of some young musicians.

When they couldn't afford musical instruments, the Recycled Orchestra created its own from literal garbage.

Music is life for 11-year-old Amara Jackson Rojas. It doesn't matter her violin is made from trash found in a landfill. For her, it might as well be a Stradivarius.

"It makes me feel happy and free when I play my violin," a smiling Amara said.

She's part of the Recycled Orchestra, a group of young musicians from Paraguay who have become famous for turning trash into tunes.

"It's a way for them to learn about responsibility and get them away from the violence that surrounds the community," said Favio Chavez, the founder of the group.

Chavez put the ensemble together about 10 years in his hometown of Cateura, a place built on a landfill. He saw the trash as an opportunity for kids to learn to play music.

"The music is the only way that these students have value," Chavez added.

The group went viral and their story is now being told in a documentary called "Landfill Harmonic." They were in Camarillo for the screening.

"There's been a lot of admiration and it's definitely carried their message that it can be done, and no matter where you grew up, or where you were born, there are opportunities out there," Chavez said.

Among other instruments, Chavez plays the guitar made out of a couple of cans.

What was once junk is now a chance.
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