A Bʀɪᴛɪsʜ musician named Paul Barton ᴅʀᴀɢɢᴇᴅ out a piano into the middle of an elephant sanctuary and started pʟᴀʏɪɴɢ classical music to a ʙʟɪɴᴅ elephant named Lam Duan.
A few times a week at a sanctuary, he transports his upright piano up the hɪʟʟs to entertain his new four legged fans. The 57 year old man feels that he has developed an emotional and spiritual bond with the majestic crᴇᴀᴛures, many of whom are ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ and ᴅɪsᴀʙʟᴇᴅ after a lifetime of ᴀʙᴜsᴇ. Video footage and recordings of the UK pianist have become hugely popular on YouTube with mɪʟʟions of views. It comes at a time when elephant populations in Tʜᴀɪʟᴀɴᴅ are showing tentative signs of recovery. The elephant is Tʜᴀɪʟᴀɴᴅ’s national symbol and has been associated with the country for thousands of years.
Many of the elephants are old and ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ after many years of ʜᴀʀᴅ work in Tʜᴀɪʟᴀɴᴅ’s forestry and even tourist industry. 57 year old Paul Barton has made it his special mission to play to them after noticing that the elephants appeared deeply impacted by the music after he managed to haul his piano into the mountains and set it up there to play for them. He is reported to have been stunned the first time he played the piano in the open to the elephants when a ʙʟɪɴᴅ and sɪᴄᴋ elephant named Pla Pla just stood in front of him listening. It was ʙʀᴇᴀᴋfast time and the elderly elephant stopped ᴇᴀᴛing, so deeply was he impacted by the music.
Paul recalls that he was ‘listening to the music with grass protruding from his mouth’ and that one ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ convinced him that his open air recitals for the animals was worthwhile. The videos of the recitals are impactful. The peace and quiet of the sloped hɪʟʟs with the sound of nature in the background and the old ɢʀᴀᴄᴇful crᴇᴀᴛures seems to chime with Paul’s beautiful music.
Paul pʟᴀʏs classical music and favorites to the elephants who stand around ᴇᴀᴛing or simply listening to the peaceful and uplifting music. Paul is convinced that the beautiful crᴇᴀᴛures appreciate the music and seem to find solace in his pʟᴀʏɪɴɢ. Elephants are reported to be very emotional crᴇᴀᴛures and have an uncanny memory so that they can recall the scent of a person and recognize that person long after as a friend. Paul likes to ᴛʜɪɴk he is a friend to these animals.
The elephants at the sanctuary are often ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ or sᴜffᴇʀing from some ᴅɪsᴀʙɪʟɪᴛy. Paul’s story has been reported by the international foreign news agency Reuters. He has made videos which show the elephants surrounding his piano and even at times reaching out with a trunk to see how the music is made on the keyboards as he pʟᴀʏs. ‘I hope that music like this wɪʟʟ be part of a process of rehabilitation for elephants that have had sᴛʀᴇssful lives,’ Paul says. ‘Maybe some of these ʙʟɪɴᴅ elephants get a little ʙɪᴛ of comfort from hearing pieces of sooᴛʜɪɴg classical music occasionally,’ he says.
Paul’s hopes are confirmed by the owner of the Elephant World sanctuary, 44 year old Samart Prasithpol. He believes that the piano pʟᴀʏɪɴɢ gives the elephants solace and brings happiness to them. ‘We work here to rehabilitate the elephants physically,’ Mr Prasithpol was quoted in the news report for Reuters. ‘The use of music has been useful in rehabilitating their soul.’