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A three-minute teaser trailer on Cateura, Paraguay’s Landfill Harmonic went viral earlier this year and touched the spirits of many people, even those who never gave classical music, extreme poverty, or recycling much thought. These youngsters scavenged material from the dump upon which their slum is essentially built and fashioned cellos, violins, and other instruments out of the refuse. Turning garbage into sonic art isn’t new: Jamaican guitarists Lester Lewis and Ernest Ranglin made their first instruments from smashed sardine cans and wire, and the Congolese group Konono No. 1 blew many Pitchfork-generation minds with its trash-trance jams. But seeing kids take charge of their artistic lives in the face of such deprivation is next-level awesome—a real-life story of a lotus growing from the mud. The newly christened Recycled Orchestra has now embarked on a world tour and brings its ramshackle instruments, expansive talent, and uplifting story to the marbled halls frequented by the world’s greatest classical musicians.
Recycled Orchestra performs at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org