Into A Wild Sanctuary with Bernie Krause

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Bernie Krause has traipsed through the world recording the natural sounds of wild places. Here he tells of his adventures of recording a wild jaguar in the Brazilian rainforest and the nearly extinct proboscis monkeys of Borneo. Hear his thrilling and enlightening story of how the tribal elder, Marcus Wilson, taught him about the origins of music. It comes from the natural world. Krause tells us, “If you want spiritual and emotional healing, go out in the natural world and sit there and listen.” He also adds that in this culture which is polluted by a cacophony of sound, trying to find a quiet place may be difficult. He describes how animals combine their sounds in a way to render a complex symphony with rhythms, harmonies, and counter rhythms. (hosted by Jeff Wessman) 


Bernie Krause is a professional musician who has performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of the legendary Weavers and pioneered the use of synthesizers in pop music and film. He has worked with many well-known musicians and has contributed to the soundtracks of over 100 films. As a recorder of natural sound, he has been intimately associated with even more remarkable characters: humpback whales, polar bears, silverback gorillas, and the rich sound environments in which they perform. 

Bernie Krause is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Bernie Krause go to

Topics explored in this dialogue

  • Why Krause describes the collective sounds of animals in a given environment as “biophony”
  • How animals taught us to dance and sing
  • Why separating sounds from the environment does not give us the full picture
  • How his meeting with Nez Perce elder educated him in the origins of music
  • How his extensive training in music inhibited him from hearing the music in natural sounds
  • What happened when he was stalked by a jaguar in the rainforest of Brazil
  • What are acoustic niches
  • How animals combine their sounds
  • How the Jivaro, former headhunters of the Amazon, navigate through the dense foliage by sound, not sight

Host:   Jeff Wessman          Interview Date: 5/7/2001          Program Number: ST103

Music Playlist

Album: Downloaded from
Artist: Bernie Krause

Opening Essay: All Good Men
Music Break 1: Equator
Music Break 2: Prairie Winds
Music Break 3: Amazon Days and Nights
End music: Sonoma Valley Sunrise