The Thai Elephant Orchestra consists of up to a dozen elephants trained to play instruments ranging from drums and harmonicas to the theremin and electronic keyboards. You can listen to samples of their music here or at Amazon.
The orchestra was created and is conducted by elephant conservationist Richard Lair of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, and the American composer/performer Dave Soldier. They already have two CDs released on the Mulatta Records label, and a third is in the works.
I looked online to see if I could locate any dancing elephants, which would make them a triple artistic threat. I didn’t expect to find any hits, but lo and behold, these elephants can dance! Check out this commercial with a dancing elephant.
These talented Thai elephants are definitely marvels of the animal world. Just think, if you end up purchasing an elephant painting, or musical CD, not only are you helping provide the elephants with additional food, proper veterinary care, and improved shelter, but you’ve also got a cool conversation piece. Unless you want to be tricky and when your friend mentions, “I love this, who’s it by?” you can answer L.E. Font (or Ellie Fant).
EDITED TO ADD = I forgot to mention that I read a book about an elephant recently called Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant that Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer. The sweeping saga spanned 7 decades and 3 continents, following the life and times of a remarkable elephant and her faithful companion and trainer.
I pulled this summary from Amazon: Modoc is the joint biography of a man and an elephant born in a small German circus town on the same day in 1896. Bram was the son of an elephant trainer, Modoc the daughter of his prize performer. The boy and animal grew up devoted to each other. When the Wunderzircus was sold to an American, with no provision to take along the human staff, Bram stowed away on the ship to prevent being separated from his beloved Modoc. A shipwreck off the Indian coast and a sojourn with a maharajah were only the beginning of the pair’s incredible adventures. They battled bandits, armed revolutionaries, cruel animal trainers, and greedy circus owners in their quest to stay together. They triumphed against the odds and thrilled American circus audiences with Modoc’s dazzling solo performances, only to be torn apart with brutal suddenness, seemingly never to meet again. Hollywood animal trainer Ralph Helfer rescued Modoc from ill-treatment and learned her astonishing story when Bram rediscovered her at Helfer’s company. His emotional retelling of this true-life adventure epic will make pulses race and bring tears to readers’ eyes.