Why I Love: Canary impressions

Michael Barimo, champion whistler
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The Independent Online

Whistling offers a reprieve from gloom. Think of The King and I or Pinocchio. And because it isn't language-dependent, people of all ages around the world can understand the emotions expressed through it. It's a delight seeing children's faces light up when I demonstrate different whistles.

Birds are my inspiration. When I was three, my aunt bought me a bright-yellow canary. His florid song kept me mesmerised for hours, and I would try to mimic him. Listening to the canary's song showed me how to whistle while both breathing in and breathing out.

For the past 10 years, I've shared my life with an African Grey parrot who repeats my whistles, only at a much higher and louder pitch! Combining this sound with opera, I've created a musical hybrid that hopefully builds a bridge between humans and birds.

'3rd & Bird! Bird's the Word', the children's series featuring Michael Barimo's whistling, is released on DVD on 30 March