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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 12:54 GMT
Thais trumpet elephant stars
Indian elephants
The musical elephants live at a Thai conservation centre
Thailand has produced a band of five musical elephants who will release a recording of their debut track next year.

The elephants come from a conservation centre in the northern city of Lampang.

Sanit Homnan, the centre's deputy head, said the elephants had been trained to play a percussion instrument, xylophones and a harmonica.

He said a compact disc of their first mastered tune had been sent to a US recording company and would go on sale in Thailand and the US next year.

Mr Homnan said that the centre had received a favourable response from the company to the elephants' demo tape.

The track on the tape lasts around 60 seconds and is a popular Thai children's song called Chang Chang Chang - meaning Elephant, Elephant, Elephant.

Mr Homnan explained that the elephants currently worked very much as a team and were not quite up to doing solos.

The elephants have also mastered the angklung, a Javanese bamboo percussion instrument.

Tour

Usually, the instrument is played by a group of performers, each one shaking their own instrument in succession when required.

The elephants each hold one angklung by the trunk and each shake it when prodded by their trainers.

Two of the elephants also play giant xylophones and one plays a specially designed giant harmonica.

Mr Homnan added that the elephants were now being trained to perform Happy Birthday To You.

The proceeds from the recordings will go to a help fund a project a milk bank for orphaned elephants and other elephant conservation programmes around the world.

After the compact disc is released in January 2001 the elephant band plans to go on a concert tour to promote its songs.

The conservation centre has also trained some elephants to paint on giant canvasses. Several painting were sold to raise money for the centre.

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06 Jan 99 | Asia-Pacific
Thais to clone elephants
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