Scrub Away Your Sadness With The Man Who Plays Piano For Disabled Elephants

paul barton plays piano for disabled elephants

Take a breath, friends, and prepare to let the worries of the world wash away for at least the next five minutes, for I am about to share with you the heartwarming story of the man who plays music to elephants.

Fifty-seven-year-old Paul Barton lives in Thailand. A self-taught pianist from Britain, he started playing music for elephants after a visit to an elephant sanctuary with his wife in 2011.

With the help of some mates, Barton loaded his upright piano into the back of his ute, and drove it to the sanctuary on the banks of the River Kwai, where he serenaded the elephants with Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.

Did we mention that the sanctuary is specifically for old, disabled and injured elephants? Yes, you may go for your tissues now.

Barton says it was a moment of whimsy that motivated him to bring his piano along on his visits to the sanctuary.

I wondered if these old elephants might like to listen to some slow classical music when I arrived, so I asked if I could bring my piano along and they allowed it.

If you’re wondering whether you, too, might be privy to these very particular concerts, you’re in luck – Barton has a YouTube channel where he uploads footage of his playing, and the animals who come to visit him (and also some top-notch content of Barton getting mauled by a baby elephant).

What is it about watching these gentle, intelligent, massive creatures being serenaded by Debussy‘s Clair de Lune that makes us want to weep? The elephants, many of them victims of the illegal ivory trade, approach the piano and stand transfixed, sometimes flapping their ears, sometimes crooning in response. And Barton, this kind, mild man in sandals and ugly shorts – he’s really made a contribution of value to the world.

He told

It’s said elephants memorise your scent and will think of you as a friend the next time you’re together.

When I play music to elephants I always feel calm and happy.

Music for elephants. Get amongst it.