About Us

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Mermaid Galene and Salty Stuart the Pirate

are the married musical duo of Diane Rains and Stu Janis along with a
music-making crew of clever fishies. They present several forms of aquatic-themed entertainment at venues and events of all kinds.

seahorse wave

 

 

  • Mermaid Galene
  • What's In A Name?
  • Salty Stuart
  • Our Mission

Mermaid selfie

 

      Mermaid Galene is a character created by entertainer/naturalist/animal behavior specialist, Diane Rains. As a child, Diane was fascinated and inspired by mythology of the mermaid. An excellent swimmer, she spent many delighted hours in her local swimming pool, propelling herself underwater with an imaginary tail sweeping gracefully behind her. Swimming like a mermaid brought her strength, delight, and a glorious feeling of being connected to the myriad of fascinating creatures who inhabit the waters of our planet.

        Love and respect for animals and nature, as well as the creative power of imagination, have always been paramount in Diane's awareness, from earliest childhood right up to today. Diane honed her knowledge of the natural world with many years of education, including B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Science, as well as most of a PhD in Veterinary Physiology, and advanced education in positive reinforcement-based animal training.

        After working as a park naturalist, zookeeper, and then Mayo Clinic lab technician, Diane chose to steer her career goals in a more creative direction. Along with her husband, Stu Janis, Diane dove enthusiastically into the world of professional puppetry with her own touring company, Freshwater Pearls Puppetry. For over 25 years and in over 600 performances across the U.S., Diane and Stu entertained thousands of children and adults with their original puppet productions.

       Then a chance discovery changed the way Diane looked at the world. She took up training animals to perform in Freshwater Pearls' puppet shows — first two small dogs, and then goldfish. And she observed something incredible: fish are musical! Given instruments that they are physically capable of playing, goldfish consciously and purposefully create harmonious accompaniment to music they hear. And seahorses, which Diane also lovingly keeps, are musical dancers! It's safe to say these startling revelations pretty much blew Diane's mind. She decided to retire from live puppetry (well, most of it, anyway) and devote her career to musical fish.

       This led to the formation of a very fishy band: Neptune's Keep. Diane and Stu are now half of the world's most unique quartet: two humans and two goldfish, making beautiful music together. As a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist working with fish, Diane has achieved a level of understanding and camaraderie with aquatic creatures that no one had previously imagined possible. Throw in the incredible musicianship of Stu on hammered dulcimer, concertina, and voice, and you've got a truly unique musical experience! With one published CD complete, another in the works, and original material constantly flowing from Diane's brain, Neptune's Keep brings an enchanting creative collaboration between human and animal to fascinated audiences from coast to coast.mermaid selfie

      So how does mermaiding fit into this spectacularly quirky entertainment extravaganza? Well, it was a natural progression. Once Neptune's Keep began making music with fish, we quickly settled on the band's theme: music about water and the creatures that live in it, fly above it, sail away on it, depend upon it. When Diane began writing songs for the band, she was immediately drawn to her old childhood fascination with mermaid mythology. Mermaid songs became a standard part of Neptune's Keep's repertoire.

       And then Diane came upon the YouTube videos of Hannah Fraser, professional mermaid. An astonishing entertainer and ocean conservation activist, Mermaid Hannah, in her elegantly crafted mermaid tails, swims with the most powerful and mysterious creatures of the sea. Her work is mesmerizing, powerful, and inspiring. And Diane thought, "Well, hey. I could do that." (Or at least, a version of "that.") And so her transformation to professional mermaid began.

       Diane is perfectly comfortable in her aquatic world, and when she puts on her tail to become Mermaid Galene, she is at one with the mindsets of fish and seahorses, at one with the pull of current and tide. It's a great feeling that deepens her steadfast appreciation for the natural world, and for all creatures of water. It is her great pleasure to share this awareness with audiences of all ages.

 

Mermaid Galene

Seahorse Galene

 

       It is traditional for a professional mer to choose a name that reflects her or his personality and represents the meaning behind such an unusual career choice. Just about the time Diane decided to embark upon this voyage, she lost someone very dear to her — her most adored dancing seahorse, Galene. This amazing animal had musical dance in her very soul. She danced rhythmically and lyrically to music played near her tank, to the sound of her human mama's singing, or to the sight of Diane dancing in front of the seahorse tank. YouTube videos of this extraordinary piscine choreographer-dancer have been viewed by astonished audiences around the world. Her death from an infection was a sudden and unexpected blow. We lost an intelligent, sweetly emotional, and talented little friend when seahorse Galene left us. Mermaid Galene knew that taking her beloved friend's name would keep her close in our hearts and continue to spread the joy that this amazing little performer brought to so many.

Salty Stuart

 

     For over two decades, Stu Janis has been Diane's partner in creative theatrical entertainment, musical expression, fur and finkid parenting, and life. To our mermaid/pirate productions he brings decades of experience interacting with audiences. As Mr. Bottles in Professor Freshwater's Punch and Judy Show, Stu perfected his front man's craft, creating a gently silly rapport with children of all ages. He utilizes that skill in his role as Salty Stuart the Pirate, the most mild-mannered and good-humored of nautical scallawags.

       Stu is more than just a fun guy. He's a musician of rare talent, excelling in eclectic instruments like hammered dulcimer, concertina, bowed psaltry, tinwhistle, and tsimbl. From them he draws sounds both lively and lyrical, and he is a performing member of no less than three bands. As if all this musical wizardry were not enough, for over three decades he has been a valued asset to 3M Co. as a statistician and internal business consultant.

       Every good mermaid needs a good mertender (because mermaids are less than mobile on land). Diane counts her lucky sea stars every day, for there could not be a finer ally in mermaidery and in life than Salty Stu. bar

Water world

 

       An encounter with a "real," live mermaid, is a memorable event for both children and adults. It personalizes and brings into focus the majesty and importance of the gorgeous waters that surround and nurture the Earth, and the enchanting diversity of animal life in those waters. In our multimedia theatre programs, meet and greets, and aquatic performances, we hope to leave a lasting impression on our audiences of how precarious and how precious are the waters of our world. We strive to instill in people of all walks of life, all generations, a new awareness of animal cognition and emotion. We aim to make people care about aquatic species and habitats, and we hope to inspire our audiences to act to preserve these special places and creatures. We work toward these goals through our original music, gorgeous films and animation, and carefully crafted storytelling. We bring to our programs a sense of playfulness and fun underpinned by real emotional connection.

       And nobody else anywhere makes incredible performance art with musical fish!

 


 

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