101-year-old man with Alzheimer’s shows us all the eternal power of music

21 September 2021, 10:09

Antonio Cadenas plays piano
Antonio Cadenas plays piano. Picture: Facebook / Antonio Cadenas

By Kyle Macdonald

Today, on World Alzheimer’s Day, here’s a beautiful moment to remind us how deeply music runs – in our mind, body and spirit.

Spanish musician Antonio Cadenas celebrated his 101st birthday in May. He’s a man with a remarkable story and talent, which speaks to the profound power of music-making.

Cadenas has Alzheimer’s Disease, a syndrome that results in a decline of brain functioning and impacts on thinking skills and other mental abilities. Today, 21 September, is World Alzheimer’s Day, an international campaign to raise awareness surrounding the issues faced by people with dementia.

Remarkably, it is possible for musical memories to be stored in different areas of the brain that have been unaffected by the decline.

And incredibly, Antonio can still remember the music and his piano technique. He plays Lagrimas y sonrisas, by Juan D’Arienzo. You can see the music flow through the fingers of the centenarian. It’s powerful and inspiring.

Read more: How playing an instrument benefits your brain

La musica es pura magia. Este señor tiene 101 años es de Arucas No se acuerda de nada Pero cuando ve un piano mira lo que pasa.. 💗🐚💗

Posted by El Yare on Friday, 8 May 2020

Antonio Cadenas was born in Terque, Spain on May 10, 1919. As a child, his first music lessons came from his mother and priests at a local cathedral.

He served in the military from 1942 to 1946, before continuing music and working as a teacher up until his retirement in the 1980s. He now lives with his son and his family.

Thank you for sharing your music and talent, Antonio.