Friday, July 24, 2009

Khmer Rock lives

BBC R4 on Khmer Rock - lost to the Khmer Rouge but still alive today
BBC Radio 4 in the UK are spending half an hour on 'Khmer Rock & and the Killing Fields' on Tuesday 28th, when host Robin Denselow will tell the story of Cambodia's rock and roll stars who emerged during the late 1960s with their new sound. Despite losing most of those stars of Khmer Rock during the Khmer Rouge regime, the music is still revered today. Hopefully they'll post a link so we can hear it after its finished at BBC R4. Thanks to Simon for the heads-up.
The performance of the Yeak Lom traditional group from Ratanakiri at Gasolina tonight was cancelled as they didn't actually make the trip down south. Shame. The dvd for the Aki Ra's Boys documentary arrived in the post today from Singapore, he says, breathing a sigh of relief. It's certainly a film about triumph over adversity. This weekend there's another bout of four football matches in the Cambodian Premier League. The second game on Sunday promises to be of particular interest, when top team Preah Khan Reach take on their nearest rivals, Phnom Penh Crown, who are just a point behind them. My money is on Crown though PKR have quietly gone about their business this season, winning matches and have yet to put in a really electrifying performance. Saturday's games should see wins for Naga and Khemara Keila. I'll be covering all 4 matches for the Phnom Penh Post. Finally, the new Cambodian national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air, will kick-off its maiden flights on Tuesday between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (4 each way) as well as Saigon. There are really cheap fares to be had too. The original idea was to christen the new Sihanoukville airport but that has been put on hold until they can get a 'name' to open it later this year. Oh I nearly forgot, the PM here has talked disparagingly about wedding cakes being a non-Khmer tradition and of foreign influences affecting Khmer arts, which will be a headache for the cake-making business over here as well as people like Belle, the country's leading contemporary dancer, who gets her influences from all over the globe. I can understand a desire to keep a rich vein of tradition to the fore, but there has to be room for innovation and progress too, the country cannot live in a time-warp.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, I thought same thing when I saw the title of youtube videos about Hun Sen asking people to do more traditional arts but actually if you listen to the whole thing, he was just mentioning how many of the traditional artists are few in number and there should be more interest in it before the old masters are gone and the rare knowledge are gone with them. For instance, he compared how today you can find 50 accountants instantly but you can't find 50 Chapei players.

So, I think you might miss something from the translation there. At first I thought here we go again, he is gonna bash something but actually he said he was just pointing out something he noticed. He even apologizes to the contemporary artists that sport the "western" instrument before he goes into his little talk. In a short and simple way of summarizing what he said that I heard in the video on youtube, he wants to see more diversity in Khmer artists because nowadays all the kids just look up to foreign arts too much or something.

In my opinion, change is the key word. Even cultural things change over time. But maybe We Khmer are still more closely connected to our ancient arts than many other. I am actually interested in things that is non-Khmer, German Surrealist arts, etc... but I think people should be encouraged to do any kind of art they want. Don't stump on the tree if it wants to go in a certain direction. Help it. I feel I'm majorly influenced by non-Khmer arts but the more I learn about other people's arts, the more I realize how little I know of my own people's arts, you know. So the increase knowledge and exposure to the foreign materials only make the person want to learn more about his or her people's material as well. In my case, I've seen great things with the Western art done and saddened to see nothing spectacular is done to show how amazing Khmer arts is. I personally feel Khmer have great arts but no one has been competent enough to represent it in an international standard level and everything is about presentation. Thai is good at marketing their things. That is why people know their stuff. We just need competent people in the marketing and image representation though movies, music, etc... I am a kid that will no doubt be part of that movement to polish Khmer gems and make them worldly renown.

July 25, 2009 at 2:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree, Hun Sen has should not stick his nose in Khmer's private business or life styles. He should be working on improving healthcare, poverty,economy, and education,democracy. These are the big and urgent issues that need to resolve.

July 25, 2009 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I didn't see the speech but the newpapers reported their version. If Hun Sen called for respect for traditional arts as well as diversity then that's all good stuff. Thanks for your views.

July 25, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older