Grammy-nominated artist, Jai Uttal recently in the news for making music for yoga has turned to a different audience, chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in the Kitera Forest exhibit of the Africa Region in North Carolina's Zoological Park need entertainment and stimulation. Zoo officials have contracted with Uttal and his eclectic Pagan Love Orchestra to visit the chimps several times during the year and play his unusual music.
It was found that the chimpanzees are fond of Uttal's east meets west fusion, particularly the artist's translations of the Bahagia veda and ancient sanskrit texts including Rumi and Hindi chants from the Kama Sutra and sacred music for the sitar and flute. The artist and his Pagan Love Orchestra recorded their second album which came out in 1993 and was a tribute to Jane Goodall and her monkey and was called, "Love Monkey Child."
In between visits by Uttal, the zoo chimps will listen to recordings of the New Age artist piped through on loud-speaker systems placed throughout the Kitera Forest. Careful accommodations will be made, so that the music will not be broadcast too loudly as to disturb all the other animal species harboring more refined tastes that do not like Uttal's unusual brand of sacred music and are more inclined toward orchestral versions of Vivaldi, or the symphonies of J.S. Bach.
The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro boasts the most intelligent animals in captivity and is the only zoo of its kind to feature animals in their natural habitat. Animals must make at least a 1400 on their zoological boards and pass stringent personality and emotional IQ tests to be admitted. It's definitely the ivy-league jungle of zoological parks.
After going through the stringent process of being selected, the animals seem to love it here says NC Zoological Park director Larry Bird.
On any given day, primates may be seen carefully observing children and taking notes as they watch through the observation glass. Careful details are noted about the child's behavior and are kept in the zoo "monkey files."
Sometimes the chimps are noted to get frustrated with the children, especially when they won't sit still for long periods of time. During those times, the chimps just take a break, walk away, get a drink of water, or a snack, then come back and try it again.
Primate researcher, Jane Goodall, who has even taken on the appearance of her lifelong companions, says she is impressed with the research that the primates are doing and commends them on their scientific objectivity and rigorousness.
"With the information that these chimpanzees have gathered about our children," says Goodall, "we should be able to understand them thoroughly in the near future."
Results of the chimpanzee's children study will be published in next month's Woman's Day, Southern Living, Psychology Today and National Geographic as well as in a host of academic journals.
Individuals interested in making donations to the study, or the zoo, may contact zoo director, Larry Bird for further details.
In other news today, a primate for president?