“A wonderful opportunity to see wild animals just being themselves. I like to play piano for animals that have had stressful lives and it’s possible that music can play a part in their rehabilitation process,” British musician Paul Barton said while playing piano for monkeys in Thailand.
Barton was a rock star to hundreds of hungry wild macaques in central Thailand. He hoped he could calm them with his music at a time when there are fewer visitors to feed them and less funds for their welfare.
The macaques were instantly drawn to Barton’s rendition of Greensleeves, Beethoven’s Fur Elise and Michael Nyman’s Diary of Love, some were eager to share his stool while others jumped on the musician’s shoulders.
The musician hoped to raise awareness of the monkeys’ hunger while also study their behavioral responses to classical music. The macaques are his latest audience, having played Bach, Schubert, Chopin, and Beethoven for more than a decade to elephants at retirement sanctuaries.
“Come together and not let the pandemic stop the macaques getting good nutritious food. We need to make an effort to make sure that they eat properly. And when they eat properly they will be calmer not so aggressive,” said 59-year-old Barton, who is a long-time Thai resident.
Barton played at four venues in Lopburi, a province famous for its monkeys, including an ancient Hindu temple, a hardware store and a theatre.