Playing music with animals

Jim Nollman bridges the gap between humans and animals with music.

Jim Nollman plays music with animals. He has tried it with ravens, dolphins, bellbirds, frogs, orca’s, humpback whales and many more. In his life, he has worked for the Smithsonian Institute blowing harmonica with howler monkeys on an island in the middle of the Panama Canal, recorded flute music with wolves and he even produced a Thanksgiving radio show singing with gobbling turkeys. Also scientific and environmental organizations; from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the German Arts Council to Greenpeace and indigenous Arctic tribes have worked with him.

Nowadays he specializes in musical communication with whales, as you can hear in the video above. For making the music, he designed unique underwater musical instruments and waterproof recording devices, making it possible to make music with any animal he wants.

Nollman is also the main instigator for Interspecies Inc., a non-profit organization that wants to interact with animals. Their mission is as follows:

"We want to interact with animals rather than act upon them, encouraging both a bond and a metaphor that demonstrates a much-needed balance in nature. We relate to habitat as not only alive, but also sentient; not only sentient but also sacred; a creative wellspring as much as a place possessed of physical features."

Interspecies Inc.

Nollman uses his music to explore how sound is used for communication by all kinds of different creatures around the world. For example, he wonders what it means when marine mammals “sing” along with a guitar? He thinks the attempts on communicating with animals have a profound impact on how we treat them. As he says, “art can play an important role in interspecies relations and public policy.”

Are you curious about some of his other projects? You van visit his website here.

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