This pianist spends his days playing classical music to old and handicapped elephants

2018-10-12 14:36


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A British pianist dedicates his time to giving old and injured elephants moments they won’t forget.

Kind-hearted Paul Barton (57), from Yorkshire in the UK, has been giving his unique performances since 2011 and says playing compositions by the likes of Bach and Beethoven to the animals helps rehabilitate them.

The elephants at Elephants World, a sanctuary near Kanchanaburi in Thailand, are usually left mesmerised by Paul’s playing and often stand next to the piano as he plays.

The Brit came across the sanctuary while making a video about the River Kwai Bridge.

The first elephant Paul played to was a blind animal called Plara who, when he first heard the music, stopped eating his breakfast and stood motionless, fascinated by the sound.

“Almost all elephants react to music in a visible way,” Paul says. “There’s a sudden movement when the music begins.

“The elephants are free to walk about around the piano; they’re not chained or tethered in any way. If they don’t like the music they can simply wander off.

“Some elephants get very close to the piano of their own accord. They might even drape their trunk over the piano.

“Some hold their trunk in their mouth when listening; some start to sway with the rhythm of the music.

“Some younger elephants are very surprised by the sound and suddenly run around the piano, curious about it.”

Paul mostly plays slow classical pieces to the 28 elephants who, he says, all have different tastes in music. He leaves out the parts of the compositions he believes won’t hold their interest.

Wild monkeys often also come to watch the pianist perform, sitting in groups on nearby rocks.

Paul’s piano-playing journey started in the UK, where he taught himself how to play as a youngster.

After hearing a piece by German composer Schubert the animal lover decided he wanted to be able to play it and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts in London to study music.


He moved to Thailand to teach piano 22 years ago. It was supposed to be a three-month trip but after meeting his future wife, Khwan, he decided to stay in Thailand. The couple have a three-year-old-daughter.

Paul hopes to continue playing the piano for the elephants to help enrich their lives.

“The piano is out in the mountains, so the elephants are completely free – they can do what they want.


“They stand close to you. There’s a kind of connection you can’t explain in words.”

Source: Magazine Features


Read more on:    uk  |  good news  |  animals

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