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Retired Pianist Performs For Old, Handicapped Elephants

Nobelle Borines

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What do you plan to do when it’s time to retire? One pianist decided to continue performing to a captive audience. However, his listeners are made up solely of elderly elephants.

Paul Barton has been playing for the elderly animals of Elephants World, a sanctuary in Thailand. The 57-year-old pianist decided to move to Kanchanaburi and volunteered to perform for the old elephants who used to serve as logging and trekking animals.

The animals at Elephants World are sometimes injured and handicapped.

Barton believes that his mini-concerts are somehow relaxing for the elephants. After all, most of the animals are now handicapped and have led difficult stressful lives. The UK native shares his first performance that was immediately appreciated by one of the elderly creatures.

“The first time I played piano at Elephants World a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence. When he heard Beethoven for the first time he stopped eating, stood still and listened to the music with grass protruding from his mouth. So I returned to Elephants World often after that day and stayed for long periods.”

The rest is, as they say, history as Barton continues performing to some 22 elephants in the sanctuary. He also points out that the keys in his piano are not made of ivory.

Barton’s performances always please the elephants.

But how do the elephants truly feel about Barton’s performances? The pianist shares that the animals usually listen closely to his concerts. They reportedly “start to sway with the rhythm of the music.”

“The elephants are free to walk about around the piano, they are not chained or tethered in any way and the piano keys are of course not made from ivory. If they didn’t like the music then they could simply wander off.”

Barton regularly shares videos of his performances on YouTube. The videos are a testament that music can truly soothe the tired soul.

Watch Barton perform ‘Claire de Lune’ for an 80-year-old elephant below:

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