'Baby Beluga' at 40: Raffi and Yo-Yo Ma debut a new version of the popular children's song
To mark its anniversary, there's a new verse for 'beluga grads'
Canadian songwriter and children's entertainer Raffi is marking the 40th anniversary of his perennially popular "Baby Beluga" with a new version of the bouncy song about a little white whale.
"It makes me smile to hear it," said Raffi Cavoukian from his home on Salt Spring Island.
The song was inspired by a beluga whale Cavoukian had seen at the Vancouver Aquarium in 1979.
"It took my career to a whole new level, and recently, in recent years, in concert, I've heard a whole new generation who I call 'beluga grads' — adults who grew up singing Baby Beluga — who bring their own kids to the concerts."
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has been doing a series of songs called "Songs of Comfort" throughout the pandemic, and he reached out to Cavoukian for a duet.
"He's an artist at his prime. He's just at the top of his game. I'm just so thrilled with this joining of talents."
Pay special attention to the way Ma imitates whale song during the transition to Raffi's newly coined verse, written especially for adults — the "beluga grads" — who remember the song from their youth.
"Grown-up beluga, sing a song of peace," he enjoins them. "Sing a song of diversity, child-honouring, social justice, climate action. We need to hear you."
Watch their full performance below.
With files from On The Island