Elephant Music: Tiny Pachyderm Concert : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture Watch Shanthi, an Asian elephant living at the National Zoological Park, playing harmonica and horns in creative ways.
NPR logo Elephant Music: Tiny Pachyderm Concert

Elephant Music: Tiny Pachyderm Concert

Shanthi the elephant plays harmonica and horns.


Shanthi is a 36-year-old Asian elephant who resides at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park (NZP). A few days ago, NZP released this video of Shanthi playing harmonica and horns, offered to her when caretakers noted the elephant's tendency to use her body in musically rhythmic ways.

The clip is brief (3:38). If you're short on time, don't miss the song Shanthi created that starts at right about 1:50. Its structure, and its ending crescendo, is pretty cool.

The NZP notes that Shanthi is never cued or coerced in her playing: it's "for her own pleasure and joy."

I wish all elephants could live safely in the wild or in sanctuaries. When they don't, this type of creative enrichment is fabulous for them.

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