If you were a child or a parent in the last 40 years, there’s more than a good chance that the eponymous whale in Raffi’s “Baby Beluga,” swims through bathtimes, bedtimes, and all the other times in between. This catchy and sweet song is one earworm parents tend to embrace, mostly because we loved it as kids, too. Famed kids’ musician Raffi knows his fans eventually grow up and, so he’s been celebrating “Beluga Grads,” all year; those kids who became parents or caregivers who sing “Baby Beluga” to kids right now.
But what does this whale look like? Kids have been doodling their personal conception of Baby Beluga for a long time and now, a heartfelt new video celebrates the art of kids and former kids alike. Artist YOUSEF brought these decade-spanning drawings to life. The result is a video that perfectly captures the gentle spirit of children’s imaginations everywhere.
“The inspiration for the song is all pretty much in the public knowledge,” Raffi tells Fatherly. “It was inspired by a whale in captivity in Vancouver. I met this beautiful Beluga whale at the aquarium in 1979. I was living in Toronto at the time. There was a ‘save the whales’ movement in the ’70s, but I didn’t want to write a lament to the whale. I wanted to write a love song. I’m glad I took that approach because the song set the whale free.”
Raffi also admits that the song was almost not about a baby whale, but that he was “advised to make the song about a baby whale because children love babies. I’m glad I took that advice!”
While “Adult Beluga” might be a big hit in another timeline, we’re all very lucky that Raffi took the song in the direction he did. As the new fan art video proves, this beautiful song connects with kids for a reason. It’s cute, but it inspires intelligence in children, too. What does that Beluga’s “waterbed” look like anyway? The answer is whatever the kid wants it to be.
You can read more about Raffi’s climate change work, and his other music projects at the Raffi Foundation.
You can also check out Raffi’s Child Honoring Program here.