There was a time when foreigner friends of mine asked me to recommend them some decent modern Khmer songs that would help him understand Khmer culture. I was dumbfound. Should I recommend them to the Khmer version of “Gangnam Style”? Either the songs that popped up in my mind are “borrowed” from some foreign songs or those songs are too engrossed in someone’s personal problem of love/relationship, which don’t make sense at all. Indeed, for now I am very disconnected with Cambodian music industry.
I was beginning to wonder if any Cambodian would share this thoughts and experience. I grew to concern that in the near future, all we can do is accept that we can never ever write our own original songs.
That is when I met a group of young Cambodians. Some of them are still in high school, some are freshmen. Two of them happened to be part of my volunteer team for Barcamp Phnom Penh 2014. They told me that they wanted to create a workshop to discuss about how to help students integrate their academic life with music. I was astound that with their age they are challenging themselves to do something bigger than themselves. I decided to help them with the event as an adviser (I’m old now).
The team took off with some great brainstorming of ideas, with which they developed into an even bigger cause: “To inspire young musicians to write their own original song”. While it is not something new, but it is something very important. I always question the role of young people in this society. The very person who can change this course of history is them, and always them. If they surrender to the culture of plagiarism, it will be over for Cambodia.
To me, this young team incites the passion of seeing Cambodian music industry get back on her feet again. This team would also pave the pathway for the future generation to witness the glory of Cambodian music. I’m no kidding here. If you look at any other big music industry, say K-POP for example, it is the new blood which is driving the industry now. Why not Cambodia too?
What they would do is that, they would organize an workshop-concert hybrid event, called Melodies of Change, and invited famed emerging artists to speak at the event. Adding to that is a competition called Dream of Songsters which contestants are young aspiring artists perform with their original songs and will be judged by a panel of distinguished musicians and professors.
The team is working hard to promote the event. I understand the challenge before them. I hope the public will understand the problem and will join in passion to support this team and event. I’m a bit perplexed of why it took so long for these people to take that first step. Now that the first step is made, why won’t the whole society follow in? What do they want? What is their taking of the current Cambodian music industry? I don’t want my children to grow up in a society with the prevailing mindset that plagiarizing is okay. We need people to exercise their imagination and creativity, and altogether nurture the growth of originality in Cambodian modern music.
If you’re supporting this new wave of originality, come to this event.
If you’re supporting these new fleshes to make a positive impact on the industry, come to this event.
If you’re wanting to be able to recommend some good modern Khmer songs, support this event.
See you at the event. (Info can be found in the pix… I’m too lazy to rely all the info.)
I hope this information is useful, if you ever considered helping. 🙂
**I wish he would be asking now so I can recommend him to Jimmy Kiss’s new single “Moto Ah Song Kare Tep” which speaks the mind of the biker who praise his 30-year-old Japanese female motorbike and how she took him on a journey throughout Cambodia. Magnificent, I would tell those foreigner friends and invited them to this event since he will be coming too. My recent favorite song and artist. XD