Being a group of musically-inclined RAs in Serena Camp at the moment, we’ve spent a lot of time joking about the theme songs we’d choose for some of the many animals we get the pleasure of watching every day. I picked some of our favorites and decided to share them with you all for today’s post. Youtube links to each song are included for your listening pleasure. If inspiration strikes us again, we may post Vol. 2 sometime soon.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
This song was chosen purely based on the gut feeling you get when you swing around a blind corner in the car at night and come face to face with a hippo in the road. The opening chords of Beethoven’s Fifth always echo in my head during that moment of breathless tension while you wait for the hippo to decide whether to flee or stand its ground. Hippos – with their incredible bulk and tiny, unreadable eyes – frighten me far more than all the predators of Kenya put together, so I couldn’t think of a better song to represent them.
The Pink Panther Theme
Black-backed jackals are quick, nimble and clever – the perfect candidate for a jazz selection. And what better piece of jazz music than the theme of that infamous cat burglar, the Pink Panther? It’s true that jackals are more canine than feline, but it’s not much of a stretch to picture a particularly cunning jackal slipping into a museum in the dead of night to spirit away some priceless piece of jewelry – all while saxophones croon in the background.
William Tell Overture
Helmeted guineafowl are second only to the ostrich in the “most ridiculous-looking bird” contest. It’s hard to take any animal shaped like an apostrophe seriously, but particularly when their main mode of transportation is an absurd, bouncing trot. The William Tell Overture is the perfect soundtrack for watching a flock of goofy-looking birds run at break-neck speed across the plains of Kenya.
Baby Elephant Walk
When someone writes a song called Baby Elephant Walk, I can’t NOT include it in this list.
Mission Impossible Theme
It’s not breakfast time in Serena camp until a horde of dwarf mongooses goes racing by the table, pouncing on insects and sniffing around our feet for scraps. Mongooses have a rapid, low-to-the-ground gait with occasional pauses to stick their heads in the air and scan for danger. They constantly remind me of tiny spies, furtively checking over their shoulders for pursuers and moving with as much stealth as they can muster. I wouldn’t be shocked to find one dangling above our breakfast table on a wire, intent our snitching our hardboiled eggs.
Ride of the Valkyries
You can blame the Loony Toons for this selection. Despite having seen several real operas, Saturday morning cartoons have infected my brain with the image of opera singers in horned helmets and silly armor. While I originally joked about this song for the buffalo because of their impressive horns, the image of a buffalo galloping in their bizarre, slow motion way kept bringing Wagner’s thundering low brass back into my head. Besides, if any animal in the Mara was going to suddenly burst into opera music, it would undeniably be the stoic, barrel-chested buffalo.
The Maruti – Super Mario
Emily commented that bouncing along in our little Suzuki Maruti felt like we were a game of Mario Kart and none of us could deny it. Now all we need is one of Mario’s magic stars of invincibility and we’ll be in business.
The Cruiser – Theme from Mad Max: Fury Road
During a recent movie night, it occurred to all of us that we were perhaps relating to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road more than your average person is supposed to relate to a movie about a post-apocalyptic world. We nodded along as the characters on screen wedged things under the tires for traction when their truck got bogged down in mud, and attempted car repair in the middle of nowhere with nothing more than their wits and whatever they had on hand. While we’re not being chased by bands of brigands desperate to steal gasoline from us, we still felt the music was an apt theme for our Cruiser.