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Blind Thai Elephants Get Private Piano Recital



Paul Barton played Beethoven to the elephants, which live in a sanctuary on the mountains of Kanchanaburi, north of Bangkok


A 50-year-old British man has dragged a piano up a mountain in Thailand – so he could play Beethoven for blind elephants.

Paul Barton achieved a long-held ambition as he sat behind his piano, just a few metres away for the graceful giants, calmly playing his instrument.

He decided to do the challenge to help fund raising for the blind elephants, which live in a sanctuary on the mountains of Kanchanaburi, north-east of Bangkok.

Paul said: ‘It was a 50th birthday present to myself, my wife and I have been working with blind elephants for many years, and I thought it might be something they would enjoy to listen to.

‘I sat down and thought, what do you play to an elephant?  ‘You only get a short time, so I started trawling through my books and then Slow movement 2 from Beethoven’s Pathitique Sonata just stuck.

‘I had to drag the piano up a mountain, I have a really bad back, but I wanted to make the effort so I could feel like I had undergone a personal challenge.

Yorkshire-born Paul moved to Thailand 16 years ago with his wife to be closer to the elephants.

It is estimated that there are around 60,000 Asian elephants in existence, about a tenth of the number of African elephants.

Slow movement 2 was described as the closest Beethoven got to heaven by his publisher in the 1800′s.

Paul hopes to put on a concert with him and the elephants before the end of the year to raise money for an electric fence.

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