It all started as a practical joke: Geert Chatrou's sister-in-law entered him in the International Whistler's Convention in Louisburg, NC. To save face, he went … and won!

Why you should listen

Geert Chatrou has been whistling as long as he can remember. He plays the recorder and flute, but prefers whistling -- using only his lips as an instrument. In 2004 he won the whistling World Championships, and returned in 2005 to successfully defend his title. The 2008 World Championships were held in Japan, and Chatrou proved to be the world's best once again.

Chatrou was part of a prizewinning documentary about the 2004 International Whistling Convention, made by Emmy winners Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. This documentary, called "Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling," has been screened in over 40 countries. Together with the Dutch group Ocobar, Chatrou made his debut album, "Chatroubadour" in 2005, with all songs specially written to fit his virtuoso whistling. In 2008, Chatrou released his latest album, "Ornithology," which brings out the "whistlability" of different music styles -- from jazz to klezmer to classic to pop.

What others say

“His spectacular jumps from one note to the other are breathtaking. When he spontaneously whistles a few notes, he immediately touches you.” — De Volkskrant

Geert Chatrou’s TED talk