The normal din of the street fades to silence when 18 youngsters in a working-class neighborhood of the Venezuelan capital launch into the salsa classic "Mi desengaño" under the baton of maestro Juan Manuel Mejias.

With only the street for a rehearsal hall, Mejias and his students show the art and imagination can flourish anywhere.

The band has grown from four people at the start to 18 now and their performances outside a machine shop have become occasions for spontaneous neighborhood celebrations.