Landfill Harmonic - Children creating music

 Humans adapt in some highly creative ways....

The Recycled Orchestra: Slum Children Create Music out of Garbage

A video of slum children creating music with instruments made of trash has been reposted
 nearly 345,000 times on Facebook in the past week. Some viewers said
they wept when they heard the rich, deep notes from a cello made of
rusty oil can.

These young musicians hail from a village in Paraguay called Cateura,
 a town perched on top of a mountain of garbage. Every day 1,500 tons of
 solid waste is dumped in a landfill in Cateura, where 2,500 families
live. These families, with the help of their children, survive by
recycling whatever they can find in the landfill, according to UNICEF.

One day Favio Chávez, an ecological technician, had a wild idea of
giving these children something that would have been beyond their reach:
 playing music in an orchestra. Although he was trained as a musician
and had experience in forming ensembles, he knew few if any families
could afford musical instruments in Cateura, where a violin, Chávez says
 in the video, is worth more than a house.

To his delight he discovered
the solution was literally within his grasp: The dump site was
overflowed with material capable of making music.

“One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments,” Chávez, 36, told
 Fox News Latino.

“But it got to the point that there were too many
students and not enough supply. So that’s when I decided to experiment
and try to actually create a few.”

(MORE: OK Go to Release Music Video Featuring 1,000 Handmade Instruments)

That was when Chávez had an epiphany:  “The world sends us garbage,
we send back music,” as a quote from Chávez reads in the video’s

Thus The Recycled Orchestra was formed. Its fame has taken the
30-member ensemble traveling around the world, performing in Argentina,
Brazil and Germany.

Being able to play an instrument has profoundly changed some members’
 lives. “My life would be… worthless without music,” one girl said in
the video.

The orchestra has attracted the attention of Graham Townsley, an
Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Townsley and his crew have been making a
documentary called Landfill Harmonic based on the orchestra. They released a trailer in November, with the hope of finishing the documentary by 2013.

“I made this orchestra to educate the world and raise awareness,” Chávez told
 Fox News Latino. ”But it’s also a social message to let people know
that even though these students are in extreme poverty, they can also
contribute to society. They deserve an opportunity.”


Povery, Drugs and Despair

Embracing Uncle Charlie

Uncle Charlie looking out the window of his place at 23 Troutman St., Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Marc Asnin)

Uncle Charlie playing pool with his son, Joe, at Flores Bodega in Brooklyn. (Marc Asnin)

Uncle Charlie’s daughter Mary hanging out with neighbors while waiting to be picked up on prom night. (Marc Asnin)
Uncle Charlie sleeping in his Castro Convertible bed in his living room. (Marc Asnin)

Uncle Charlie, with a new AIDS ribbon tattoo in memory of Joe, looking out of Joe’s bedroom window. (Marc Asnin)

Uncle Charlie wearing a tefellin, a leather box holding verses from Torah that observant Jews wear during morning prayers, for the first time. (Marc Asnin)

Joe in the hospital fighting for his life after being diagnosed with AIDS, 1996.(Marc Asnin)

Crack and crack pipe. (Marc Asnin)

Embracing Uncle Charlie

When Marc Asnin was 18 years old, he decided to document his uncle’s life. As he spent more time with his mother’s brother, he learned secrets of his family’s past, many of which his mother denied were true. Uncle Charlie is crazy, Esther would say, but she wouldn’t discuss it any further.

She finally broke down and admitted that Charlie was telling the truth about dark aspects of their childhood growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Esther had escaped that life; her brother was not so lucky.

In his upcoming book, “Uncle Charlie,” Asnin shares 31 years of photographic documentation and the 71 years of his uncle’s life, through his uncle’s words.

“From my earliest memories, my uncle was my favorite,” Asnin told CNN. By the time he started college, the photographer realized Charlie “had bottomed out in love.” In 1981, through his aunt, he asked if he could start this project. Charlie agreed.

For the next three decades, with the longest stretch of absence being six months, Asnin consistently photographed his uncle. He had all access, he said.

Asnin assumed his uncle figured, “Who else was going to pay attention?”

The book reveals Charlie’s Valium addiction, his broken relationship with his five children, his multiple marriages, his hate crime against his own race. But it also asks the age-old question of nature versus nurture.

“We’re all shaped by the family we come from,” Asnin said. And, he said, every family has a “Charlie” on some level.

“We don’t want to share that, but we do want to share it,” he added.

The project has taught him to embrace the past. Even with family problems, Asnin says, his parents “told me to never look away.”

In the beginning of the project, Asnin had moments of frustration watching Charlie’s life. He has had mixed feelings about him but usually feels pretty neutral.

“I hated him some moments and loved him some moments,” he said. However, he remained unbiased and shows all sides of Charlie’s story in the book. Though he edited the images and text, “I didn’t live his life,” Asnin said. “At the end of the day I went home.”

Charlie’s is the only voice heard in the text, which is an important aspect of the story, since it is his life. It gives readers the opportunity to decide if he’s someone they can feel sympathetic toward, Asnin said.

Charlie’s story has come full circle, his life parallels his own father’s, even with Charlie ending up sitting in the same place: “alone by the window.”

– Elizabeth I. Johnson, CNN
Filed Under: Marc AsninPhoto BookU.S.


The Forsaken People of Japan's Largest Slum

A cross-dresser performs in the Japanese slumHappy man pointing at cameraMen wait for jobs in Osaka's largest slumAn old man in the largest slum in Japan

What happens when you can't repay your gambling debt in Kamagasaki

Nestled in the shadow of Osaka’s gleaming high-rises and funky neon lights is a township of grungy alleyways, rusted metal shutters, and old men living in makeshift cardboard huts. This is Kamagasaki, Japan’s largest slum – and a “city within a city”. Once, it was a suburb for laborers catering to the construction boom that accompanied the country’s strong post-war economic growth. These days, the laborers are still there, but the steady work has dried up and the men are getting old.

Men playing a game in Japan's biggest slumPhoto: Andrew Houston
Men sharing a drink in Kamagasaki slumPeople sleeping on the street in Japan's largest slumA small Buddhist shrine in Japan's largest slumA man looking under a transvestite's coat

A traditional gambling operation similar to blackjack. The man on the left, a member of the Japanese mafia, is the ‘oya’ – the person who controls the table.
“I walked the streets and met the people who live on them,” recounts Houston. “Japan's slums are inhabited by once hard-working people, and they maintain a solemn pride. Despite their grim situation, some remain cheerful and patiently await the next job, whenever it may come. Many others have succumbed to the vices of gambling, drinking, and drug addiction.”

A small Buddhist shrine in Japan's largest slumPhoto: Andrew Houston
People sleeping on the street in Japan's largest slumMen playing a game in Japan's biggest slumA man looking under a transvestite's coatClosed shopping mall in Kamagasaki
A small Buddhist shrine to aborted babies
Naturally, a population with vices attracts criminals – in this case, the Yakuza. There are around 60 Yakuza syndicates operating in Kamagasaki, and their relationship with the local populace is complex. “The Mafia provides the large majority of what little work there is to be had here,” Houston explains. “And many of the local mobsters themselves have fallen on hard times and live on the street alongside the people to whom they provide work and entertainment.” Still, it is the gangsters who oversee the illegal drug and gambling trades, and they are rumored to prey on welfare earners.
Read more at http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-japans-forgotten-ghetto?image=14#muLXJ6PK3MWViPx1.99

The Forsaken People of Japan's Largest Slum

 LINK:  http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-japans-forgotten-ghetto?image=0