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Roger Payne - Solo Whale

from Anthems by Paul Winter

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Songs of the Humpback Whale is the grand-daddy of all natural sound recordings. By far the best selling animal voice recording in history, it has touched the hearts of millions of people throughout the world, awakening an awareness of whales, and contributing to the conservationist push to save the whales and other sea-mammals.

Roger Payne speaks of the uniqueness of these whale recordings: “These are the classic recordings of the ‘Bel Canto’ age of whale singing. Humpback whales change their songs every year and none from recent years have been as beautiful as these ones from the 1960s. No one knows why. I have wondered whether it was the Muse, who blew her magic dust over whales and Beatles alike. When I think what grand arias, cantatas, and recitatives have filled the sea, echoing through its vast vaults, only to disappear and be lost forever, I am keenly grateful for recordings such as those included here, made by sound pioneer Frank Watlington, who captured what I consider to be the greatest of all Humpback performances, ‘Solo Whale.’ It was recorded at a depth of 1500 feet, using an extraordinary array of deep-water microphones, part of a cold-war experiment of the U.S. Navy costing tens of millions of dollars, and now claimed by the sea. That project will never be repeated, and such songs may never be heard again.”


from Anthems, released January 1, 2006
Written by Roger Payne (Living Earth Music, BMI)

Whale | voice


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more

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