Restoring History and Peace Over the Khmer Musical Arts

After the traumatic events in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer civilization took a massive hit. The reign of Khmer Rouge completely destroyed the Khmer culture. Khmer Rouge tried to strip off everything the Cambodians had in their previously lifetime, including everything about their own culture. Khmer Rouge implemented all intellectual and influential individuals because they saw them as a threat in restoring the culture.

In 1979, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia and drove out Khmer Rouge, the catastrophic results were seen. Many teachers, merchants, and politicians were killed, together with musicians, dancers, and artists. It was very tough to restore life after such catastrophic losses, about twenty per cent of the population had died, together with all their cultural ways.

Instantly the Cambodians wanted to restore their culture as they were very very enthusiastic in their lifestyle. The Khmer civilization has very specific rules to be able to maintain respect within the community. These principles are for eating, talking, walking and dressing, sitting, and greeting. All these principles the Khmer Rouge knew of, and they did what they could thus the Khmer people would be unable to follow them. So going back to regular civilization was hard because they had to re-teach one another the appropriate methods of their culture.

Another gianormous part of the culture was music and dance. The pre-war music was quite calm and soul making, which is precisely what the people needed to hear after the four decades of devastation they’d gone through. Regrettably, Khmer Rouge stripped that away from this as well by killing off all renowned musicians and breaking all cassettes and records of the music. So the few magicians that did endure went to work.

They tried restoring the music pieces at a time. The accumulated in the nation’s capital to put together what they remember and what they had. Tourists and Khmer people that fled the country brought in cassettes that they had, so some music was restored. While amazing amounts of this civilization was brought back, it sadly hasn’t been the same.

The Khmer civilization had some of the greatest rock n roll music of its time back in the sixties. The significant singers were Sisamouth and Sihanouk. Sisamouth was called the”King of Cambodian rock and roll.” And Sihnouk was famous for interweaving their music with Western music. Sereysothea was also becoming highly popular in the late sixties. In addition, the music had a particular spirituality to it, which to a degree is still current, but it was the heart of the people. Their communication link between heaven and earth.

Sadly, the traditional music isn’t as attractive to the younger generations, and they would like to produce a brand new music background of their own. However, some Khmers are determined to maintain traditional Khmer music alive. They do so by remaking songs, to make them more contemporary for the younger generation. Also, 1 individual is remixing the songs using editing software.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *