Really Heavy Metal! Harmonica-Playing Elephants Strike Up a Tune
Five, who is 17, and Latabe, 16, have been together at the West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire, England, since they were 5-year-old orphans. The African elephants have always had a musical bent, blissing out when their keepers cranked up heavy-metal tunes – Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin and Metallica are their favorites – and throwing tantrums when the music got turned off.
But then, say handlers, Five spotted a silver harmonica that was accidentally left just outside his enclosure, and picked it up with his trunk. They watched in amazement as the elephant toyed around with the instrument for a while before producing a sound. After that, he was hooked.
Soon enough, his buddy Latabe got in on the musical act, and now the two of them entertain zoogoers by holding harmonicas in their trunks and playing side by side. "They've both developed an extraordinary liking for the arts," says West Midland spokeswoman Wendy Jackson, "and for showing off their remarkable skills." Five is also a pretty talented painter, and his colorful sketches sell at the safari park's gift shop for around $150 apiece.
Okay, so maybe Five & Latabe won't ever go platinum with their sweet, slightly sputtering harmonies. But could either Simon or Garfunkel crush coconuts with their feet?
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