Musical mayhem ensued when Peter the Elephant joins in a 12 bar blues on piano with his trunk, entirely of his own accord. In fact, he looks like he downright enjoys it.
Peter the elephant lives at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Elephants have moods at different times of day. Usually in the cooler early evening before nightfall (at least in Thailand) they are in a more relaxed and potentially playful mood.
Peter has NOT been trained to play piano. This video is Peter’s spontaneous reaction to a piano during a brief encounter one evening between Peter and Paul Barton, a visiting pianist to the elephant Kraal where Peter lives.
The guy in the background is Pat, Peter’s mahout. He is Thai. A mahout is a person that devotes his or her life to looking after an elephant, usually in Asia. This is a dangerous job. Pat is responsible for Peter’s well-being, day and night, all year round. Pat’s daily duties include keeping Peter safe from other bull elephants as well as looking after visitors to Peter’s home. They have a very special bond.
Pat is not reading a magazine in this video, he is filming himself with his tablet. Pat is not prodding Peter, he is just reminding him not to get too carried away and smash the piano keys with his heavy trunk as he has, unintentionally, on previous occasions.
The chain around Peter’s neck is flimsy. It is there so Pat can walk at Peter’s side and guide him occasionally around vehicles or other potentially harmful bull elephants on the way to bath and drink in the river, for instance. Those with experience working with elephants in Thailand know this flimsy chain is no restraint to an elephant whatsoever. It is not there to cause Peter any harm, just the reverse.
This video is one of a series in “Music for Elephants”. There are 23 videos with piano and elephants in the playlist http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=…
The musical intention behind this video is fully explained in a full length TV documentary “Music for Elephants” directed and produced by Amanda Feldon. This documentary will be broadcast in 2014. The subject of music is mixed with elephant conservation issues.
Piano keys are no longer made of ivory. The piano in this video has plastic keys. All piano keys are made from synthetic polymers and plastics. The use of ivory for piano keys decreased dramatically after World War II and thankfully stopped altogether in 1989 with the CITIES worldwide ban on ivory trade.
Happy Humpday (^_^)