VANCOUVER (NEWS1130)  – Raffi Cavoukian says it was a kiss from a whale which inspired one of his best-known songs.

And the children’s entertainer is now fondly remembering Kavna, the 46-year old beluga whale who died on Monday afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium.

“A beautiful whale, a magnificent creature,” says Cavoukian.  “She had a profound impact on me when I met her in 1979.  The folks at the [Vancouver] Aquarium brought me to poolside and the trainer helped me to play with Kavna.  Kavna even came out of the water and placed a gentle, graceful kiss on my cheek and I couldn’t stop talking about it for a couple of weeks!”

“That encounter inspired the song ‘Baby Beluga’, and as I like to say, the song set the whale free.”

Cavoukian acknowledges he wrote about a whale swimming wild and free, when in fact he was inspired by a captive one.

“Life is complex and it brings us situations that have silver linings and give us something that they wouldn’t ordinarily have given,” he says.  “I wrote the song for an imaginary baby whale.”

“On a day like this, I’m mostly thinking about the joy of knowing Kavna and the profound impact of the close encounter that would not have been possible in any other way.”