Paul Barton, an English artist, pianist, and animal lover, went on an adventure to Thailand and initially only intended to stay for three months.
But his plans changed when he met his future wife Khwan, who is also an artist and an animal activist, and he got more involved in the local animal activism community.
Paul visited an elephant sanctuary called Elephants World an immediately fell in love with the elephants. One thing that stood out to him was how empathetic and emotional the elephants were, so the idea came to him to play classical music for them. He started the program called Music for Elephants.
Paul told Coconuts Bangkok:
“The first time I played piano at Elephants World, a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence. He was having his breakfast of bana grass, but when he heard the music for the first time, he suddenly stopped eating with the grass protruding from his mouth and stayed motionless all through the music.”
He continued to play beautiful classical music to the elephants and it always invoked a positive reaction.
The elephant in this video, Amphan, is 80 years old and blind in one eye. Her ears certainly still work though, and she absolutely loves the sound of the piano.
She stands still, looking transfixed, as Paul plays an emotive rendition of the Debussey classic “Clair de Lune”, and at one point when the camera zooms into her face it is clear to see that she is crying, evidently touched by the beauty of the song.
After finishing playing the piece, Paul takes a moment to give the elephant a nice long hug.
You can check out more of Paul Barton’s ‘Music for Elephants’ videos on his YouTube channel.