English artist and pianist, Paul Barton, fell in love with animals when he met his future wife, Khwan, after moving to Thailand in 1996. Khwan, an animal lover and activist, inspired Barton to get involved.

Barton especially sympathized with local elephants and their hardships. Thailand’s deforestation from 1975 to 1986 had especially left the animals in a desperate state. Thailand’s teak wood became so popular that the forests, homes to so many elephants, were completely destroyed.

In addition to losing their homes, elephants were used like construction vehicles, forced to carry large loads of logs. The elephants were often left severely injured.

Wikimedia Commons

Thankfully in 1989, Thailand’s government banned commercial timber logging. The elephants no longer had to spend their days lugging heavy logs. However, their homes, the forests from where the all the teak wood came from, were gone forever. The elephants had no place safe to go.

Wikimedia Commons

Conservationists stepped up to the plate. They set up sanctuaries that spanned acre upon acre. These safe havens were the closest thing the elephants had to living in the wild.

Barton toured one of the sanctuaries, Elephants World. It was there he truly fell in love with the majestic creatures. He especially noticed how intelligent and emotional elephants are. They actually displayed empathy for those around them.

It was then Barton had a light bulb moment: He would start a program just for elephants, playing classical music for them in their environment. He named the program: Music For Elephants.

Paul Barton/Facebook

“The first time I played piano at Elephants World, a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence,” Barton told Coconuts Bangkok. “He was having his breakfast of Bana grass, but when he heard the music for the first time, he suddenly stopped eating with the grass protruding from his mouth and stayed motionless all through the music.”

The ‘elephant musician’ uploads videos to YouTube. You can see with your own eyes just how much the elephants love the music. They often stand close to the piano and move their bodies with the rhythm of the music. It’s simply amazing.

Paul Barton/Facebook

In one video, Barton plays a particularly emotional piece, “Clair de Lune,” for an elephant who has had an especially tragic life.

Amphan, the 80-year-old elephant, is partially blind. For her, music is truly a treat. When Barton plays, she stands beside the piano, hypnotized by the beautiful sound.

Source: Paul Barton

Then, the most incredible thing happens. The cameraman zooms in on Amphan’s face. You can see she is crying, clearly to moved to tears by the music.

Source: Paul Barton

After the song is finished, Barton gives Amphan an emotional hug.

Source: Paul Barton

The music is Barton’s most gracious gift to show his love and adoration to the deserving elephants. The video below of the special performance for Amphan is one you cannot miss!