Saturday, October 11, 2008

The sound of Pan Ron lives on

Pan Ron would've been the 1st lady of Khmer music in the 60s and early 70s if it had not been for the magic of Ros Sereysothea. Nevertheless, Pan Ron (pictured) was, alongwith Sereysothea and Sinn Sisamouth, at the vanguard of Cambodian rock and roll music of that period and wrote and performed hundreds of songs that have become classics of her generation. She rose to prominence by dueting with Sisamouth in 1966 and there was no stopping her after that. That is until the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975 and tragically cut short her life, and that of as many of Cambodia's artists in all genres, as they could find. For Pan Ron her death came quickly after the guerrilla force took over in April 1975. She was soon identifed, which was inevitable considering her stardom, driven to a pagoda in Bati district and murdered. That pagoda is Wat Troap Kor in Takeo province, a site I visited myself on New Years Day this year. According to eye witnesses, Pan Ron was taken with her two small nephews, blindfolded and walked about 200 metres behind the vihara where a group of more than 30 people were killed. Now the site of a genocide memorial stupa, DC-Cam records show that 70 mass graves at the pagoda are believed to have contained upwards of 40,000 victims of the Khmer Rouge's killing frenzy. Pan Ron was one of those 40,000 innocent victims, though unlike the others, her legacy lives on in her timeless music.
The genocide memorial at Wat Troap Kor in Bati district
Some of the 40,000 victims of the Khmer Rouge at Wat Troap Kor, one of which was Pan Ron


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, ms. pen ron knew how to rock, and she, along with all the artists of her times can really rock. she was like the tina turner or diana ross of cambodia. i mean she rocked the music industry. may she and her fellows musical artists rest in peace.

oh, only a handful of artists of her time survived the KR era. one of them, if you haven't aware, is ms. so savoeun, who is now residing in paris, france. ms. so savoeun was also very famous, as she was high amongst singers of that time along with ros sereysothea, pan ron, huy meas, sin sisamouth, pov vannary (the 1st khmer singer to actually started singing at the first concert in phnom penh or in cambodia for that matter. i am a fan of all of them.

andy, i hope someone will write book about all of them so their legacy can live forever, in additional with songs. thanks for sharing, andy. god bless you.

October 12, 2008 at 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, such a tragedy and a very very sad loss for the world. While their lives were cut short, through their music their legacy will live on for ever.

October 28, 2008 at 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2006 I was planning a trip to SE Asia but didn't yet know where to go. During my planning I was listening to an online garage rock radio station when a Pan Ron song came on and completely blew me away. Through that song I discovered Cambodian rock from the '60s and '70s, which was so amazing to me that I decided to visit Cambodia. I had a wonderful time there and met so many amazing people...and picked up so much great music. Thank you for this information on Pan Ron. If someday I make it back to Cambodia I would love to visit this pagoda. RIP Pan Ron.

July 17, 2014 at 4:11 AM  

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