Modern Cambodian music

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Kampoochie
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Re: Modern Cambodian music

Post by Kampoochie » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:08 pm

Just signed up, been lurking for a bit, so apologies for improper formatting.

Everywhere you go in Cambodia, you will hear let's say three kinds of music blasting out of KTVs, homes, restaurants, wherever:

[*]Western pop. Stay somewhere playing music long enough and you will hear "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion and that Ed Sheeran Song, "Shape of You." I hate both of those songs so much.

[*]Khmer pop music. Like others mentioned, they have a lot of free, open concerts. Most Cambodians are extremely poor so they don't have money to pay for concerts. Beer, canned goods, and energy drink companies will put on big concerts for free. The first one I went to was on Koh Pich, the expensive island in Phnom Penh where wealthy Chinese people live now. But they also have a large fairgrounds and boardwalk area with large events put on for Khmer people. The first time I saw a concert there, Aok Sokunkanha was performing, she's most well-known for "Kraok Chor," a Khmer version of Beyoncé's "Halo." There's a lot of these sort of ballads that come out of all Asian countries. Rom Anh Jeak is another famous song, I remember seeing I think it's Preah Sovath there. Kids love doing that dance. Pich Sophea has been really big the past few years, my favorite video of hers is "What Your Name." You can look up both of those on YouTube and that will send you down the rabbithole of what's big in Khmer pop through suggested videos.

[*]South Asian dancehall/hip-hop. A musicologist might disagree on that categorization, but it makes sense to me. Pich Sophea's "What Your Name" is probably the best transition from pop into this world. She's a bit more "wholesome" or "nice girl" in general, but you get a bit more bad bitch/bad boy as it veers more hip-hop. To western people, MIA really brought this sort of music to the forefront — when did Galang first get big, like 2006? — but it's basically music you hear everywhere around south Asia. You hear it blasting out of houses in remote tribal villages, you hear it at the worksite of a bunch of guys laying concrete in Phnom Penh. [[/url] Here's a good sampling of the beats we're generally talking about.

It would be hard to consider contemporary Khmer music without knowing about the pop music of the 60s and early 70s. Look up "Cambodian Cassette Archive" on YouTube, you can get a feel for this. The holy trinity of Khmer pop has Sinn Sisamouth at the pinnacle — he's almost like Elvis Presley and Glenn Miller rolled into one — Ros Sorey Sothea and Pen Ron are the other angles of that trinity, both singers you can quickly learn to recognize by their distinct voices. Check out the documentary "Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll," it tells you about the development of Khmer pop followed by the erasure of it by the Khmer Rouge.

The tl;dr of this: check on YouTube.
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Kampoochie
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Re: Modern Cambodian music

Post by Kampoochie » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:17 pm

Also, don't think I answered your other two questions:

You can go to some clubs in Phnom Penh, but you'll see signs outside that have like "no grenades, hypodermic needles, camo, assault rifles, etc." It's maybe a good place to experience wealthy criminals listening to what I call "South Asian dancehall," but you know: enter at your own risk, especially if you don't know anything about Cambodia yet. Best to have a Khmer friend take you.

In terms of where to get musical instruments, I'd go to TTP, Toul Tom Poung or Russian Market as barangs (us foreigners) call it. You'll see a ton of instruments for sale just hanging up in stalls on one corner of the market. My holy grail is getting ahold of some minority instruments, the Bunong, Kreung, Kavet, etc., people in the northeast of the country. While these people are often animists and save up $500 to sacrifice buffaloes to spirits, you're also way more likely to hear bouncy Khmer dancehall coming from their huts than traditional music.

And are their festivals? Yes, a ton. Cambodians love time off from work, they are not a country like the USA or Japan or Germany that you might accuse of having a workaholic culture. When people do work a lot, and many do, it's because they have to: poverty. But many just sit in a hammock all day and watch TV. A big one that's coming up in April is Khmer New Year's. It's quite beautiful to watch from Riverside (next to the Mekong) in Phnom Penh, they have boat races and cover floats in lights. People will often setup many sound systems for these events, just out on the street, and blast the Khmer pop and dancehall I shared in my previous post.
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Re: Modern Cambodian music

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:50 am

Kampoochie wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:08 pm

[*]South Asian dancehall/hip-hop. A musicologist might disagree on that categorization, but it makes sense to me. Pich Sophea's "What Your Name" is probably the best transition from pop into this world. She's a bit more "wholesome" or "nice girl" in general, but you get a bit more bad bitch/bad boy as it veers more hip-hop. To western people, MIA really brought this sort of music to the forefront — when did Galang first get big, like 2006? — but it's basically music you hear everywhere around south Asia. You hear it blasting out of houses in remote tribal villages, you hear it at the worksite of a bunch of guys laying concrete in Phnom Penh. [[/url] Here's a good sampling of the beats we're generally talking about.
on the commercial front and id say newer Artists like Yuri and G-David fit your danchall/hiphop mold better... singers like Pich Sophea, Aok Sokun Kanha and Preap Sovath etc, theyre just pop artists that use that style of music in some songs

the off beat dance music they use is called "Funky" and "Style" now often called "Bek Sloy"
"DJs" like Dy Bek and Mrr Smey have been popular for years and pump out loads of songs and remixes








the dancings called Rom Bek Sloy




:hattip:
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
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