This Guy Just Covered Toto's 'Africa' Using Four Sweet Potatoes and a Squash as Instruments

Combined Shape

There are some really resourceful people out there: Creatives who find unique solutions to pressing issues and propose ideas that seem a little far-fetched at times.

People who limit themselves to the usual means of solving problems will continue to find themselves facing those problems in the same ways throughout their lives. But if you’re not afraid to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy” as one well-known teacher used to say, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

That certainly applied to a group of students in Paraguay who lived next to a landfill and had very few of the typical resources students need in order to succeed.

It all started when an engineer named Favio Chavez decided to pick up a project. “I went to work in Cateura as an environmental engineer,” he told NPR. “I saw that there were a lot of children there, and I had the idea to teach them music in my free time.”

A great idea, but there was one major issue: They didn’t have enough instruments for all the kids who wanted to participate. Chavez teamed up with a local carpenter, and the two began perusing the landfill for items that could be repurposed.

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Cans, oil drums, shoe heels, old utensils, wooden spoons, coins and drain pipes: They were all useful. From the trash rose a treasure named the Recycled Orchestra.

If someone can turn trash into such beautiful music, then what else could be used?

Carrots, apparently. One gentleman named Linsey Pollak has designed a clarinet made out of a carrot (with the help of a few integral clarinet pieces).

He gave a TedTalk on the instrument and even gives clear instructions so people can try making their own. The sound that comes out of the root vegetable doesn’t sound anything like what you’d expect a carrot to sound like.

A musician by the name of Pupsi (whose real name is Toni Patanen) has joined the elite vegetable musicians and has gotten a lot of notice after one of his recent additions. He posted a cover of “Africa” by Toto using four sweet potatoes and a butternut squash.

“Hi. I’m Toni Patanen from Finland,” his About page on YouTube reads. “I make ocarinas, real ceramic ones ( and from stupid things such as potatoes. I play bass guitar as my main instrument and obviously also play the ocarina.”

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Pupsi uses a variety of knives and other carving tools to hollow out the vegetables and then slowly carves out the holes to make them ocarinas, making small adjustments along the way.

The result is a very convincing rendition of the hit song using his very atypical instruments. Is this something you could see yourself trying?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking