Monday, May 25, 2009

Cambodian Traditional Music Artists Perform in South Korea

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

In accordance with a gracious invitation from the Korean Government, six of Cambodia’s veteran traditional music players including composers Tro Sau, Tro Ou, Khloy, Roneat and Ta Khe will perform in Seoul. The artists left Cambodia on May 20 for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Festival. These performances will take place on May 31 and June 4, 2009, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, said Dr. Sam Samang, Personal Advisor to the Minister for Culture and Fine Arts, Him Chhem.

Dr. Samang who is the Head of Cambodian traditional music artist group said according to the invitation, the artistes will stay in Korea from May 20 to June 5, 2009. They will join 70 other traditional music players from 11 countries. There will be representatives from all ASEAN member countries as well as Korea, the host nation.

“This marks the second occasion that we have been honored with an invitation from the Korean Government to play traditional Cambodian music,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during a telephone interview on May 20.

Dr. Samang pointed out that the central purpose of the joint traditional music performance is to honor, congratulate and entertain the ASEAN Heads of States. These dignitaries will be attending the ASEAN-Korea Summit on May 31. This summit will be graced by the presence of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

The festival will also mark a debut performance for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. This orchestra will be formed on June 4, 2009 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

“This first meeting of international authorities from the world of traditional music is an historic event. We are all aware of the great honor in being asked to perform for the ASEAN heads of state as it is also a good opportunity for us to learn and exchange ideas on how to develop our traditional music and arts,” Samang said. “The formation of this orchestra will also strengthen friendship and solidarity across the entire ASEAN-Korea region. Political harmony will be achieved as usual in the summit meetings. The musicians will create musical harmony after the talking has ended.”

Dr. Samang said he had composed a new piece of music to commemorate the formation of the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. Going under the simple but elegant title “Concerto” this new piece is inspired by the richness of ancient Khmer music. He added that his “Concerto” will form part of the ASEAN-Korea Orchestra’s repertoire and the international orchestra will perform it regularly at future concerts.

Yun Khean, Professor with the Faculty of Music at the Royal University of Fine Arts, has already left for Korea. He said he was looking forward to shining an international ray of light across the oeuvre of traditional Cambodian music. He said he would be paying close attention to the techniques and styles used by the region’s musicians. He said he foresaw a time when traditional Cambodian music would reclaim the significance it once had, based on its Angkorian purity.

Khean said that this event will help him ensure this happy outcome; and like all good instructors, he was looking to learn as much as teach.

“I am very proud and honored to be invited to the inaugural concert for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. I will work hard and play my best during all the performances. I hope that I will learn new skills and I am thrilled at the prospect of such an enjoyable experience. As William Shakespeare said, music is the food of Love. Today, music is also the gentle, sustaining force of international harmony,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. ////

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