Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arts revival on a weekly basis

The Children of Bassac performing at the National Museum
The revival of traditional Cambodian arts is picking up apace and at the forefront of this charge is the organization, Cambodian Living Arts. Under their umbrella, The Children of Bassac are fast developing a reputation of the highest order after showcasing their talents both in the United Kingdom and Japan and at the recent International Youth Arts Festival held in Phnom Penh. The group, aged between 16-21 are under the tutelage of the renowned Cambodian arts master Ieng Sithul.

From Thursday 4 November until April 2011, The Children of Bassac will be showcasing their talents every Thursday on stage and under lights at the entrance to the National Museum of Phnom Penh, from 7-8pm. Seating is limited so advance booking is recommended for a show that will include both classical and folk dance and music. Tickets cost US$18 per person.

The Children of Bassac troupe was formed in 2003 by Ieng Sithul and were named to remind people of its origins in the Bassac community in Phnom Penh where the performers still live and rehearse. The intent was to provide poor and street children with the opportunity to learn traditional Khmer music and dance. “Most of the children in the program can sing, dance and play traditional instruments,” says Sithul. “They can get some income doing this, but what’s more important is that it helps the children avoid lives of drug use, thievery and prostitution, which are not valuable activities in society. We are only able to help about 10 or 20 percent of the children in the Bassac area who are susceptible to bad influences from society and their environment,” he said. In 2005 the group joined with Cambodian Living Arts, increasing opportunities for the children to learn more skills and today they are a flourishing troupe, bringing the revitalization of the arts to a wider audience.

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