This is the incredible moment an artist takes a piano into the jungle to play classical music for rescued old and injured elephants

This is the incredible moment an artist takes a piano into the jungle to play classical music for rescued old and injured elephants

This is the incredible moment a classical pianist played music for injured and elderly rescue elephants in the Thai jungle.

Paul Barton has been putting on his unique performances since 2011, and said he believes Bach and Beethoven can help rehabilitate animals who have lived stressful lives.

The elephants at Elephants World, a sanctuary near Kanchanaburi, appeared mesmerised by Mr Barton’s music recitals in a series of clips of the pianist.

British pianist Paul Barton plays piano to handicapped elephants

Paul Barton has been putting on his unique performances since 2011, and said he believes Bach and Beethoven can help rehabilitate animals

In one video, a young elephant is seen chomping on sticks he found below the piano stool as classical music played above him.

 

The calf then decided to join in with Mr Barton – his trunk landing loudly on the piano keys as he explored the mystery instrument.

Mr Barton, from East Yorkshire, came across Elephants World while making a video about the River Kwai bridge.

He said he liked the sound of what was seen as a retirement home for the animals, and decided to pay the sanctuary a visit, asking the manager if he could bring his piano along.

Elephants at Elephants World, a sanctuary near Kanchanaburi, Thailand, were mesmerised by Mr Barton’s music recitals in a series of clips

Mr Barton, from East Yorkshire, came across the sanctuary while making a video about the River Kwai bridge

Elephants World is a sanctuary for more than 30 old, sick, abused, retired or rescued elephants, most of whom have ‘lived very hard lives,’ according to their website.

The first elephant Mr Barton played to was Plara, a blind elephant who stopped eating his breakfast of bana grass and stood motionless when he first heard the sound.

He said: ‘Almost all elephants react to music in a visible way. There’s a sudden movement when the music begins.

‘The elephants are free to walk about around the piano, they are not chained or tethered in any way. If they didn’t like the music then they could simply wander off.

‘Some elephants get very close to the piano of their own accord, they might drape their trunk over the piano even.

‘Some younger elephants can get very surprised by the sound and will run suddenly around the piano curious about it.’

He said he liked the sound of what was seen as a retirement home for the animals, and decided to pay it a visit with his piano

The pianist usually plays slow, classical numbers to the elephants, he said, removing the parts that he believes will not hold their interest.

Each elephant has different tastes, and in total there are 28 that Mr Barton plays to.

Sometimes, wild monkeys also come to watch the pianist perform, sitting in groups on a nearby rock.

Mr Barton decided to learn piano after hearing an impromptu by Franz Schubert as a child.

As he didn’t have a piano at home, a young Mr Barton learned on other people’s instruments.

Elephants World is a sanctuary for more than 30 old, sick, abused, retired or rescued elephants, most of whom have ‘lived very hard lives’

Mr Barton, his wife Khwan and their daughter Emilie now live at the sanctuary in Thailand

He then studied fine art at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and 22 years ago, moved to Thailand to teach piano.

That teaching expedition was supposed to be short, three-month trip, but Mr Barton soon met his now-wife, Khwan, a wildlife artist with whom he has a daughter, Emilie, three.

The family now live at Elephants World, helping out with chores and playing with the animals that live there.

Mr Barton said: ‘The piano is out in the mountains, so it’s completely free – the elephant can do what it wants.

‘These elephants are standing close to you, and there’s kind of a connection that you can’t explain in words.’

 

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