Empathy: About the songs (I)

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Track 1: Koko & Kanzi

In 2013 I took part in class about animal cognition at university in Berlin. I learned a lot about the minds of apes. Koko and Kanzi kept coming up not as examples, but as jokes. As fascinating as they are, their leading researchers have become to close to the animals and have fallen to anthropomorphism. Therefore the experiments have lost their scientific value, according to much of the scientific community. So instead of admiring the animals, we laughed at videos of Kanzi cooking noodles and Koko looking indifferently at the cats she apparently loves. I instantly knew I wanted to write a song about them. As funny and sad as their story is, I do find them fascinating. I mean, Koko apparently finds human nipples funny. I seriously think even that tells us something important about animal minds.
The idea for the song stayed with me for some years before I actually wrote it. I watched every video about them, read every paper I could find and scrolled through blogs and comments by former employees. Then I first played it in 2016, during the tour for Head in the Air, if I remember correctly.
Kanzi enjoying some marshmellows