Elephants inspire band to spread love

Colorado folk band Elephant Revival will be performing at The State Room on Saturday at 9 p.m. Photo Courtesy Elephant Revival
Colorado folk band Elephant Revival will be performing at The State Room on Saturday at 9 p.m.
Photo Courtesy Elephant Revival

Colorado folk band Elephant Revival brings more than simple music to the stage: they bring history and a philosophy of love and acceptance.
The band was inspired by an event that occured in May 2005. The separation of three longtime friends came to a close, when 36-year-old elephant, Wankie, was unable to make it to Utah — her expected destination. Following in the footsteps of her matriarchs, Wankie was the last of an elephant trio to die.
Wankie, Peaches and Tatima were the elephants of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. After Tatima died from a rare lung infection, it appeared Peaches and Wankie lost the will to live, and both elephants’ strong frames disintegrated into weak bodies.
When looking back on the deaths of these gentle giants, it is obvious that the comrades carried a deep connection. Once that bond ended through the death of one, the bereavement of the remaining two followed.
The story of Wankie, Peaches and Tatima has touched the souls of many animal lovers. Making top headlines in news sources such as NPR and The Washington Post, it is no wonder that Elephant Revival has dubbed this inspiring tale its mission statement.
By taking its namesake from the chronicle of Wankie, Peaches and Tatima, Elephant Revival parallels the elephant team’s story by attempting to foster connections worldwide.
Hoping to create an attachment similar to that of the three companions through music, Elephant Revival’s definition reads, “The telepathic connection between these … elephants is quite evolved. Love is often beyond description. The Elephant Revival Concept is about closing the gap of separation, so as to live, create, travel and perform in a sustainable manner,” acc0rding to Elephant Revival’s Myspace page.
Like Wankie, Elephant Revival is heading to Utah. However, unlike the heartbroken animal, this Saturday the band will reach its destination — The State Room in downtown Salt Lake City.
At The State Room, Elephant Revival will parade an eclectic mix of sounds, along with the band’s song-writing chops. By utilizing a wide variety of instruments, such as the mandolin, washboard, electric banjo and fiddle, it is evident the five-person group has the potential to connect with a variety of listeners.
Though the quintet has often been described as bluegrass or transcendental folk, Elephant Revival attempts to relate to all types of listeners, not just to bluegrass devotees or folk fans. For this reason, band-member Sage Cook refrains from categorizing the band’s genre.
“I don’t [compartmentalize the band’s sound],” Cook said. “Within the natural world you can say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a tree.’ But, that’s generalizing to the extent that you take away the tree’s individuality. You can’t really experience the fullness of what it actually is. That very organism is a different manifestation of energy. That’s why I actually stay away from describing [the sound] all together.”
Elephant Revival’s song lyrics epitomize Cook’s beliefs. The song “Sing to the Mountain” resonates a known hippie anthem: the philosophy that every creature is linked in a universal understanding.
The lyrics “Go and sing to the mountain/go and sing to the moon/go and sing to just about everything/cause everything is you” symbolize Elephant Revival’s outlook.
To Elephant Revival, people and animals share a special understanding — the knowledge of love and togetherness. Those who want to share in this philosophy can join Elephant Revival at The State Room on Saturday at 9 p.m.