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Track List

  1. Lullaby from the Great Mother Whale for the Baby Seal Pups (5:01 mins)
  2. Magdalena (5:34 mins)
  3. Love Swim (5:26 mins)
  4. Blues' Cathedral (10:17 mins)
  5. Sea Wolf (5:38 mins)
  6. Sea Joy (5:47 mins)
  7. Dance of the Silkies (5:29 mins)
  8. Seal Eyes (6:30 mins)
  9. Copyright 1980, Living Music Records, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Sublimely beautiful…”  – The New York Times


Inspired by the imaginary journey of a mythic sea lion pup, CALLINGS is the  result of three years of research and expeditions by Paul Winter to observe, listen to, and occasionally play his saxophone with sea mammals. His research expeditions for the project took him Newfoundland, British Columbia, Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, the California coastal islands, San Salvador in the Bahamas, and twice again to Magdalena Island in Baja California.

This musical celebration of the sea interweaves the voices of: California sea lion, harp seal, bearded seal, fur seal, sea otter, dolphin, blue whale, humpback whale, beluga, bowhead whale, walrus, polar bear.


The album helped initiate a successful campaign to have Congress designate March 1st each year as “International Day of the Seal.”


“…A show-stopper performance that will remind people that this is the only earth we have.”  –  –  – Midwest Record Recap 


In 1979, in Baja California, Paul led a music-making and whale-watching expedition, with the camp set up in the dunes along Magdalena Bay. On the last night in camp,a sea lion pup appeared in the water just offshore, alone and unafraid of the people who gathered around. She came onto the beach, and Paul and the group sat near her quietly, then played a little music, hoping she would feel at ease. She seemed contented and soon put her head down and fell asleep. Paul stretched out in his sleeping bag beside her, and went to sleep with his nose just inches from hers, smelling her fishy dog-breath, and listening with fascination to her tiny “whale-blow” exhalations.

Magdalena Island with wild seal pup

Magdalena Island with wild seal pup

PWwithsealCallingsThis extraordinary encounter affected Paul deeply, and inspired him to explore the realm of pinnipeds and the role of sound in their lives, in the same way he had immersed himself in learning about whales and wolves.   “I had felt a terrible helplessness, not knowing what to do, when in 1965 I first saw on TV the slaughter of seal pups for their fur,” Paul recalls. “I felt the same frustration three years later when I learned about the whales  – majestic animals that were being killed for dog food and lipstick. But by then I was finally moving towards using music. I came to realize that celebrating the beauty of the living creatures was a more effective strategy to move people than depicting the horror. The best way to raise awareness about the magic of the vocalizations was to find a vocalization we could interplay with, so the actual voices of the creatures were woven in with the music – in a sense we were collaborating with these creatures.”


Produced by Paul Winter and recorded by Dixon Van Winkle with Chris Brown. Additional recording by Richard Blakin and Mickey Houlihan.

Copyright 1980, Living Music Records, Inc. All Rights Reserved.