In a powerful ballad, Roger Whittaker writes about man's destruction of the animal kingdom. Addressing mankind, he asks:
"Do I trust you to keep the rhino sale?Do I trust you to keep the leopard free?"
In answer, Whittaker laments:
"Make way for man, though it will mean the end of you."
Kenya-born Whittaker sings about what matters most to him.
Through his songs, Whittaker strives to touch hearts and awaken an urgent sense of responsibility of man toward his environment.
In an interview from his London home, Whittaker explains the commitment that drives him in his work.
"As an entertainer, you're in the position of reaching millions. I sing about the chance we have to change the generation of children today who can turn things around. Our generation is lost. But if we educate our children, then we have a chance."
Whittaker is actively involved in efforts to save the endangered African black rhinoceros, donating proceeds from concerts to the Rhino Rescue Trust. The trust creates sanctuaries for the rhino in Kenya.
And in a musical television special filmed in his native Kenya, Whittaker makes a poignant plea for preservation of the natural environment. The video depicts the stunning beauty of an untamed landscape peppered with herds of roaming giraffe and majestic lions. The film then contrasts these scenes of serenity against the brutality of elephants falling to the ground from poachers' bullets and left to rot after the ivory tusks have been carved out.
"The elephants and rhinos are what I have chosen to concentrate on saving. But they are just small samples of what we're doing to this earth. We're polluting the ocean. We're destroying the whole ecology of this planet. We'll go down as the only civilization that destroyed itself. What a legacy," Whittaker said.
Whittaker wrote the ballads about Kenya before a tragedy in his family occurred there.
"My father was murdered in Kenya on April 1, 1989. I haven't gone back to Kenya since. I'm giving myself time.
"Murder is an awful thing, causing so much anger and heartache. I feel anger because the murderers who did it have gotten away with it. I don't want to see them die. I just want them caught. I want to tell them, `I'm sorry you did this. You don't know how much pain you've caused."
Realizing the potential danger of living in Kenya, Whittaker had urged his parents to hire guards to protect their home during the day - not just at night. But they had refused. Robbers killed his father and tortured his mother in a daytime attack. His mother now lives in London.
This senseless brutality has not dampened his love for his homeland, though. And his love for his family deepened in response to the tragedy.
The songwriter says his deepest happiness is found with his wife, Natalie, and their five children.
Whittaker will sing love ballads from his latest release, "I'd Fall in Love Tonight," when he performs next week at Symphony Hall.
He describes the concert as "intimate" because he will be on stage with a only a pianist.
"It's going to be very much a one-to-one thing. People can concentrate on the music and my message," he said.
With 186 gold, silver and platinum records to his name, the pop-country singer takes his message to the world.