Tag Archives: Music for Elephants

Abused old elephant moved to tears by man playing piano for her

Animal Channel reports, Aug. 23, 2018, that Paul Barton is an English artist and pianist who love animals.

In 1996, Barton moved to Thailand, where he met his future wife, Khwan, a wildlife artist and animal activist. Through her, Barton became especially interested in helping Thailand’s elephants.

Barton learned that Thailand went through a period of rapid deforestation from 1975 to 1986 when companies cut down trees for teak wood, without any concern for the animals who were losing their homes.

Elephants were some of the animals that suffered the most during this time. Many companies forced elephants to carry heavy logs for them, and the elephants would often get scratched and bloodied by sharp twigs and branches.

In 1989, Thailand’s government finally banned commercial timber logging. But the elephants continued to suffer, having lost their homes with nowhere to go.

Many conservationists and animal lovers set up sanctuaries for the abused and neglected elephants. Barton visited one of these sanctuaries, ElephantsWorld, and fell in love with the elephants there. He recognized that elephants had great empathy and emotions, so he started playing classical music for the elephants, calling his program Music for Elephants. The elephants love listening to his playing—they’ll often stand right next to the piano, moving their ears and trunk in time to the music.

Barton 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.”

In the video below, Barton plays Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” for Amphan, an 80-year-old elephant who has had a very tough life. She is blind in one eye and has trouble seeing out of the other eye.

As Barton plays for her, Amphan stands completely still, looking transfixed. When the cameraman zooms in on her face, you can see her crying.

After Barton is finished playing, he gives Amphan a hug.

Click here for ElephantsWorld’s website.


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