They were hungry for more than an encore.
British pianist Paul Barton was thronged by wild monkeys as he performed classical music to hundreds of them in Lopburi, Thailand to soothe them as they face pandemic-related hunger problems.
“It’s possible that the music can play a part of the rehabilitation process,” said Barton, a longtime Thailand resident who said the project was to help the primates since there are fewer visitors feeding them.
Footage showed the macaque monkeys gravitating to the 59-year-old pianist as he played “Greensleeves,” Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and Michael Nyman’s “Diary of Love” — with some of the primates climbing on his shoulders and others touch his head.
Barton continued to intently focus on a ballad as a small monkey runs up and down the piano keys — while others nibble on his sheet music before one tries to snatch it away from him, video shows.
“I was surprised to play the piano and find that they were actually eating the music as I was playing it,” Barton said.
Barton called all of the monkey business “a wonderful opportunity to see the wild animals just being themselves.”
“I wasn’t going to let those things distract from the project which is to play the music for these wonderful macaques,” he said.
Barton said that he hoped his concert would raise awareness about the monkeys’ hunger during the country’s tourist restrictions.
“We need to make an effort to make sure that they eat properly. And when they eat properly they will be calmer and will not be aggressive,” Barton said.