We are in the middle of another blazing and long-drawn summer, but A.J. Mithra foresaw this way back in December. Actually, the tree crickets told him about it. “In winter, cricket calls are generally slow. But last December, it was faster and more aggressive, and this indicated that an exceptionally hot summer was on the way,” he says.
Well, Chennai-based Mithra happens to be a ‘zoomusicologist’ — someone who understands Nature by studying animal and bird sounds. Recently, the Limca Book of Records certified him to be the country’s first zoomusicologist, and the first one in the country to use natural bird calls to compose music records. In any case, zoomusicologists are a rarity even in the West, with only about 20 to 30 of these specialists in the world.
A music teacher in a school, Mithra’s journey began with recording bird calls and setting them to albums. Incidentally, while western zoomusicologists use sophisticated bird call recorders, Mithra still painstakingly records Nature’s sounds on his humble voice recorder. Despite these limitations, Mithra’s albums sound incredibly good, prompting noted Australian zoomusicologist Hollis Taylor to dub him as ‘Bird DJ,’ and the famed Cornell Lab of Ornithology dedicated an entire webpage to his bird music.