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Tribute to BosbaPANH "FINDING A MISSING KHMER SPIRIT IN ONE LITTLE SINGER'S MESSAGE"

It was on 31st December 2007, a couple of days after the Grand Concert BosbaPANH at Chaktomuk Hall to Launch SrorMay, the second CD album of BosbaPANH. Mrs Muoy You, a reader of the Cambodia Daily wrote a letter to the editor. Bosba's team was so moved that we are publishing here the full letter. Thank you Muoy You for believing in Bosba and one day, sure we will meet. "FINDING A MISSING KHMER SPIRIT IN ONE LITTLE SINGER'S MESSAGE. Hardly a day goes by without some disheartening news to make one wonder where our country is heading. Sure, on the one hand, there seems to be a lot of development going on. Buildings spring up everywhere, more cars and more motorbikes jam the streets, more luxury resorts, sports and goods to keep the rich happy. But on the other hand, it seems nobody is happy. The rich don’t think they are rich enough; they’ve got to have more – more cars, more land, more mistresses. The powerful don’t think they they are powerful enough; they’ve got to intimidate, insult or ridicule each other. And during that time, some of their children run havoc in the streets in Phnom Penh or on national roads. This story was not reported in the Cambodia Daily but by an old man, so maybe it is not completely true, but it tells the state of mind of the poor. It seems the son of a three star general, completely drunk drove his car, hit and killed two people, drove on and did some more damage before his car got stuck and he was stopped by the police. The son called his father to the rescue. Twenty-five Land Cruisers came rushing and the general fathe threatened to shoot the policeman if he didn’t release his drunken son. The policeman pointed out the young man had killed two people. “I will pay”cried the general. This is not the first story of its kind I’ve heard which made my heart sink. Then the other evening I went to the Chaktomuk Conference Hall. And within two hours, hope returned to me. Her name means “Flower”, she is just ten, and she looked and sounded like an angel. Bosbapanh was not born into what is commonly called a powerful family. Their power comes from their intellect, heart and mind. Her uncle is the reknowned filmmaker Rithy Panh, whose work has been an important contribution in preserving the memory of our troubled past. Raised by a Khmer father and a Laotien mother and educated at a French school, Bosba speaks four languages. At an age when other girls would be more interested in clothes and jewelry, she has been to Mount Everest. She wonderfully plays the guitar, has created a music company, launched one album after the other, and last Friday gave a grand concert. The concert was a happy mix of Khmer and international songs chosen by a surprisingly mature mind for a 10-year old girl. In an hour-and-a-half, Bosba sang of the beauty of Cambodia, love and peace, liberty and freedom and the struggle for it. She rocked the audience with a Khmer lullaby one hardly hears anymore nowadays; she honored the Khmer traditional music and the Khmer reprertoire with a heart rending opening song and towards the end with another one she sang gracefully sitting on the floor in the Khmer way. Her sweet voice, her grace, her calm, the message of her songs would make any parent and any Khmer proud. In an hour-and-a-half, Bosba has done more for Cambodia and the Cambodian Culture than years of sterile talks. She wil have inspired parents and children alike. With simplicity she has delivered a message: this is the best of Cambodia and this is what Cambodia should be – open to the world but proud of itself. Thank You Bosba. Muoy You, Phnom Penh”

Launch of second Album "SrorMay, Dreams"

bosbaPANH has launched her second album at the Grand Concert bosbaPANH held at Chaktomuk Hall, on Friday 21 December 2007 at 19:00 pm. The concert was under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and is opened by HE Veng Sereyvuth. bosbaPANH confirms her talent as a classical singer in exploring the cultural richness of her country and in making hers some famous international songs. Her album SrorMay, Dreams expresses her happiness as an artist but also a child’s freedom whose spirit travels across boundaries. As with her first album of songs, the new CD contains a number of well-known songs from King Father Norodom Sihanouk, such as Brise de Novembre. These songs are well adapted for a classical interpretation which showcases the colors of bosbaPANH’s voice. SrorMay, Dreams also revives traditional but forgotten lullabies such as Bompe, Om Touk, songs that Khmer children certainly remember as their mothers sang to them when they were young. Thanks to a joyful and creative singing, bosbaPANH modernizes century-old songs that will stay forever in the memory of Cambodians. For example, Om Touk is accompanied by acoustic guitars and bosbaPANH blows melodious whistles which recall us of children wandering in the rice fields when back from school. Finally, the album also includes several international songs interpreted in Khmer selected by bosbaPANH for their melodies or the forceful lyrics and which are musical references in their respective countries: Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole (USA), Douang Champa (Laos), Hemapean and Sopheab Neary (China), the Song of Partisans (France), Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan (USA). These last two songs are contest songs calling for peace and for a better world: the Song of Partisans was composed during the Second World War when Charles de Gaulle was in exile in London and called the French to resist the German occupation; this song echoes the fight that King Norodom Sihanouk was leading in 1953 for the independence of the Kingdom of Cambodia: Friends, can you hear, the muffled cries of our country in chains… It is us who break the bars of prisons for our brothers. Blowin in the Wind, composed in 1962 by world famous Bob Dylan, became the symbol of anti-war movements and laments about one’s blindness against injustice. In a world ravaged by conflicts and where the gap between the rich and the poor widens, these two songs have their place in today’s world and questions each and everyone’s commitment to improve the world : How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many have died ? Accompanying bosbaPANH are ten young instructors and graduates from the Royal University of Fine Arts. They form a semi-classical orchestra where they play traditional songs in a contemporary style. bosbaPANH and her band “La Compagnie bosbaPANH aim at reviving the type of concerts directed by young Prince Norodom Sihanouk in the early 1960s as well as the glamorous style of Sin Sisamouth, widely known as “the Khmer Golden Voice”. In their musical expression, BosbaPANH and her musicians want to promote the music and culture of Cambodia. While the Royal University of Fine Arts faces difficulties to operate after being moved out to the suburbs of Phnom Penh, La Compagnie bosbaPANH is an extraordinary opportunity for these musicians who have studied five years or more to play as professionals and show their talent. In little less than two years, bosbaPANH has created a wide following. Fans age 7 to 77 like her authenticity and admire her talent. Children see her as a role model, university students appreciate her international role, parents and grandparents remember a happier past when they hear her songs. They firmly believe that she will contribute to the Khmer cultural influence: « Bosba, you will be our great Cambodian singer in the future. We could see that you will be able to bring Cambodia to the world» (Sakol, producteur TV5) ; « I truly believe that her talent is phenomenal. I do hope that you continue to help her flourish her music as this is not only great for your family but is beneficial to Cambodia's future”. (Sarita Nuch Ang, Voice of America, October 2007) More than 700 fans attended and many more could not enter the Chaktomuk Hall which has a capacity of 570 seats. The first CD album « Phnom Penh » as well as this second album « SrorMay, Dreams » by bosbaPANH are on sale at Mékong Libris, Carnets d’Asie and Monument Books or contact la Compagnie bosbaPANH at www.bosbapanh.com

Singing Bob Dylan at Art + Foundation - Art Cafe

On Saturday 15 September,  Bosba and her younger brother participated to a tribute to Bob Dylan. It was at Art + Foundation - Art Cafe in Phnom Penh.  She played and sang "Blowin' in the Wind" both in Khmer and in English. 

 

CTN "Program 21" with Youk Chenda

This Monday, our band spent the day to record the one-hour program "21" produced by the famous Youk Chenda. It is a program where she interviews famous artists. I feel very proud to be invited and we have been preparing ourselves intensely for almost a month. The stage is impressive: all black with a sophisticated array of lights. It is conceived to really put into value the music and musicians. We have prepared three very different songs to perform. the first one is "Tonle Mekong" with a choir of 20 singers. The song is composed by lok Khru Pen Sam Ol who is coaching me to sing better. This song is wonderful and you have to listen to this ! A whole new sound, very classical music and one can imagine very easily how the Mekong is in listening to our voices. The second song is Chumno Vicheaka (Brise de Novembre) composed by Samdech Ta Tuot. Here I sing with la Compagnie Bosbapanh. It is a melodious song, melancholic like an autumnal day. The third song, I sing alone and play acoustic guitar. It is "Phnom Penh" from Samdech Ta Tuot, you know this song already but it is a different sound to hear me without the band. I was already a bit tired at that time of the day, it took us from 10 am to 7 pm to record the whole program. Then I was interviewed with my mom. Watch the program (Wednesday 23rd and 30 May at 21:00 pm PP time) you will learn more about me and also enjoy the new songs.

BosbaPANH releases "Hemapean" (Himalayas)

Phnom Hemapean (the Himalayas) are at the center of the universe in Khmer mythology. Inspired by her travels to Tibet and the Himalayas, BosbaPANH interprets “Hemapean”, a Tibetan song adapted in Khmer. This brings a whole new sound to the Khmer music scene, blending traditional Khmer musical stylings with the lyrical music of Tibet. The Himalayas, known in Khmer as “Phnom Hemapean” (the Himalayan peaks), are important elements of Khmer mythology and religion as they are the inspiration for our culture and art. Angkor Wat, for example, symbolizes the mythic mountain of the Gods, Mount Meru, which lies at the heart of the Himalayas. For Khmer buddhists, it is often an unattainable dream to visit the Himalayas and Mount Everest - the highest peak in the world at 8,848 meters. Brought up to cherish Khmer culture through regular visits to museums and archeological sites, BosbaPANH went in search of the roots of her culture and civilization : she made the pilgrimage to the Himalayas this year. Inspired by the magnificent landscapes of Tibet and the immaculate, eternal snows of the Himalayas, the young artist says: it was extraordinary, I never imagined that ! I have already read two books on the life of Buddha, and a short story of the Ramayana. In Tibet, I could feel Buddha was there, everywhere”. From this journey, BosbaPANH understands more profoundly how Khmer civilization and beliefs are intertwined with the Hemapean peaks and she wishes to communicate the serenity and contemplation of Lord Buddha to her compatriots. So her band, La Compagnie BosbaPANH, adapted the Tibetan song “Qing Zang Gao Yuan”, which was composed by Li Qianyi. This song has very high notes which only the very best singers can perform. Light and airy, Bosba’s voice floats through the air and becomes a scent. One can easily imagine the immensity of the Tibetan Plateau and its sacred nature (“atitep” in Khmer). This song demonstrates the quality of Bosba’s voice. In opera, sopranos are classified into three categories, depending on their ability to sing without difficulty the high notes. Belonging to the highest category, Bosba’s voice is crystalline and ranks her among the very best sopranos aged 8 to 12 in Asia-Pacific. For BosbaPANH, the Himalayas have become the “Hemapean Atitep” (Sacred Himalayas) and she offers this song as a New Year’s gift to all Khmers and friends of Khmer culture who like “Songs for Life” and are striving to understand Cambodian culture. Bosba said: « I would like to share my song « Hemapean » with all Khmers so that they can feel at peace and do not forget Buddha”. Dedication : BosbaPANH offers this song as a New Year gift to his Majesty the King, to King-Father Samdech Ta Tuot, King-Mother Samdech Yeay Tuot, and all Khmer compatriots: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.

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