Celebrate World Walrus Day With St. Louis Musician Marko Polo

Mark Pagano's new track "Walrus Sings" celebrates the tusked mammals

click to enlarge Celebrate walruses with the music of Marko Polo. - FLICKR/USFWS
Celebrate walruses with the music of Marko Polo.

You might have plans to celebrate Turkey Day tomorrow — and sure, the turkey is a noble (and occasionally even tasty) creature. But how do you plan to celebrate the walrus?

Yes, in addition to tomorrow being Thanksgiving, it's also World Walrus Day. The World Wildlife Foundation and Marine Mammal Council have been celebrating the tusked Pinnipedia every November 24 since 2008, hoping to raise awareness about their shrinking numbers. (As sea ice melts, their migrations are growing longer, and in some cases they're closer to humans, which brings a host of dangers.)

Now local musician Mark Pagano is throwing support to the cause.

Pagano, who gained a big following for his work with local band Fire Dog, now has a successful solo career as kids' artist Marko Polo. His debut album, Mammal Music, was named Best Kids' Album in this year's Best of St. Louis issue. He's long been an advocate for animals (who doesn't remember "Hellbender," Fire Dog's earworm tribute to Missouri's favorite salamander?) Now his newest track as Marko Polo honors walruses.

Pagano says he was inspired by a National Geographic story about singing walruses in Alaska. But perhaps because he himself is married to a journalist, he didn't just swipe the magazine's IP. Instead, he reached out to writer Acacia Johnson for permission to use her prose as his lyrics. He quickly got approval.

“A big goal of mine with the article was to educate people about walruses,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “So I was totally in support of the song!”

You can now stream "Walrus Sings" on Soundcloud. And maybe use this Turkey Day to educate your family about a creature that, like the turkey, may look homely, but sings beautifully.

As for Pagano, he's currently working with so-called "kindie" (kid + indie, get it?) artists on a "water-themed album" slated for next summer. Because you're never too young to start caring about marine life — and never too young to opt for indie local music.

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About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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