Music on Top of a Landfill


There’s a lecture that I give to my world music students called “Music on the Edge of a Junkyard”. This title sounds nicer than the more literal rendition, which would be “Music on the Edge of a Trash Heap”. The lecture describes how music is such a fundamental and important part of human existence that people who have almost nothing treasure and pursue it, including building instruments from salvage and devoting meager funds to paying for lessons or transportation to lessons.

As bad as the starting circumstances may sound (my own example is based on living next to the largest shantytown in Mauritius, on the outskirts of Port Louis), you can do worse. There are shantytowns built on top of landfills, or even on top of an active dump. One such example can be seen in Paraguay, where a Landfill Harmonic orchestra has been formed to bring music to this impoverished place:

The sound produced from the improvised cello seen in the video (0:33) is impressive.

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