Swaying to Music: Paul Barton Plays Soothing Tunes for Rescued Elephants in Thailand
If music be the food of love, play on…
Shakespeare was right in his consideration that music is the language of the soul, of love, of friendship! Demonstrating such love, British pianist Paul Barton plays soothing tunes on his piano for rescued elephants in Thailand. Borrowing the musical notes from the likes of Beethoven and Bach, Barton volunteers at a sanctuary for the sick, abused, retired, and rescued pachyderms in Thailand, who sway to the musical tunes played by the compassionate pianist.
For the past eight years, old, overworked, and sometimes disabled pachyderms have been rehabilitated with music at Elephants World, a retirement sanctuary for the animals in the Western Thai province of Kanchanaburi.
Barton mentions that the first time he played the piano for elephants, an old, blind male elephant stopped eating and stayed motionless for the entire piece. Apparently, the slow classical music appears to calm the nerves of these giant creatures.
A self-taught pianist and classically trained artist, Paul Barton had come to Thailand for three months to teach piano at a private school. However, he fell in love with Khwan, a wildlife artist and animal lover, both married and have been living in Thailand for over two decades.
When Barton learned about the sanctuary, he wanted to help the animals through his music. He asked the sanctuary management if he could bring along his piano and play some tunes for the rescued elephants, to which the management agreed. And Barton became a regular visitor to the sanctuary.
With a luscious backdrop of forest and a babbling brook on the side, Paul Barton has been performing passages by Beethoven, Schumann, and Grieg. He has been sitting down at the bench, playing famous compositions and drawing different reactions from various elephants. Barton admits that there are inherent dangers being around such massive creatures, but the animals seem to be enjoying the music which makes it worth the risk.
Each elephant responds differently to classical music. When they listen to the music, apparently they feel calm and in a good mood. Some hold their trunk in their mouth when listening, some start swaying slightly, some walk around the piano, and some drape their trunk over the piano.
While some have been criticizing this act of playing music to the elephants for being a publicity stunt, it is absolutely a deed of kindness and compassion. Every living being enjoys music and Paul Barton has made sure to give some of such joy to the weary and retired elephants.