Baby Beluga, the song by Raffi (Cavoukian), is a very nostalgic song from my childhood.
Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea
Swim so wild and swim so free
Heaven above and the sea below
And the little white whale on the go
In 2009 I was living in Vancouver, working with Jewish elderly people at the L’Chaim Adult Day Centre (My goodness! If you click on that link, the picture you see of the two people was taken by me at the aquarium the day we went there!).
In June of that year I was told that we would be going on a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium. I had great anticipation when I heard that not only did they have Beluga whales, but one of the females had given birth on June 7th! With our own eyes we would get to see a real, authentic Baby Beluga!
I spent the next week or so going around humming the melody of Baby Beluga.
On June 15, we finally went to the aquarium. The highlight for me was definitely watching the Beluga whales. They are mystical creatures, other-worldly. Here are some of the shots I got (click on any image in order to view all of them in a large slideshow):
Quite tragically, almost exactly a year after I saw that lovely baby Beluga, it died when someone threw a stone into the water which got stuck in his blow hole.
But that isn’t the end of the story. Last week I learned some more about that famous song and the whales I saw three years ago.
It turns out that it was at the same aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium, in 1979 that Raffi met the Beluga whale named Kavna who inspired the song. (1979 is the year I was born!)
The reason the whale and Raffi were in the news last week is because Kavna who gave Raffi a kiss on the cheek during their meeting, died last week at the estimated age of 46.
Reading this news made me realize that as I stood there in the aquarium in 2009, watching these awesome creatures and humming Raffi’s Baby Beluga song, I must have been looking at the whale who kissed Raffi the year I was born, inspiring him to write such a lovely song.
In Raffi’s very principled manner, this song was inspired by a whale who was in captivity her whole life but it is about a whale who swims so wild and swims so free. I hope people continue to sing this sweet and powerful song for whales and other creatures in captivity and for those who are wild and free.