Thursday, December 9, 2010
Human Rights Day (and of course yet another public holiday here in Cambodia) and tonight the celebrations began in earnest at the Bophana Center with master chapei musician and singer Kong Nay joining forces with the Cambodian Space Project to spread the word. With UNHCR in full support, Kong Nay kicked it off and was then joined by Srey Thy from CSP as they duetted on a song especially written for this important international event, and then the Spacers took over the stage to belt out a handful of numbers for the audience. The Cambodians adore Kong Nay, who improvises and mixes his blues style with a unique form of rap, all in Khmer, which means people like me have no idea what he's singing about but the look on the faces of the watching Khmers, tells me that they lap it up. Wherever I've seen Kong Nay perform, he receives the respect that his talent deserves. And CSP, although they have years to catch up, are building a rock-solid reputation as well. They are heading for a month-long tour of Australia soon, after a Christmas Eve departure gig at Equinox, and then have plans to perform in Europe and the United States as well. Not bad for a mix of Cambodians and foreigners playing what is essentially Khmer rock music from the Sixties.