Phnom Penh, 26 January 2011.To promote Cambodia as a destination and showcase the Kingdom’s finest musical heritage, 13 year old Khmer soprano bosbaPANH and the Living National Treasures of Cambodia will stage two special concerts at the Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th February 2011. Special guests from Paris, Hong Kong, San Diego and San Jose (USA) will come to Cambodia for these performances. Bayon temple will come to life with an elegant display of light and sound.
Paying tribute to both known and unknown Khmer artists, surviving master artists and international musicians will join bosbaPANH to take the audience on a musical journey spanning 900 years from Queen Indradevi, wife of King Jayavarman VII – the great builder of Angkor – to Queen Kossamak, mother of King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Over the centuries, Cambodia’s artists and musicians have inspired and shaped Khmer culture and society. But decades of conflict led to the disappearance of many leading artists, nearly destroying the transmission of precious cultural knowledge. Staging the concerts at Angkor links today’s performers with Cambodia’s extraordinary archeological heritage.
Friday 25th February 2011: Opening night is “Sponsors’ Night”, held for international visitors and VIPs, combining the concert with a gourmet meal of Cambodia’s finest cuisine created by top chef Luu Meng. Tickets are $80 to $100. Part of the profits will be donated to the Foundation for Khmer Arts, supporting Cambodian artists in need.
Saturday 26th February 2011: The second night is the “Fans’ night”. Seating will cost only $2.50 (Riels 10,000) for back seats; seats in front of the stage will cost $10-$20.
Thursday 24TH February 2011: Ritual of Krong Pealy and Thway Kru (offerings to the masters)
Prior to the performances, the 200 artists and backstage team will hold the solemn ritual of Krong Pealy, prayers to the spirits and Gods, and Thvay Khru, prayers to the masters. The ceremony of Krong Pealy is to request blessings from the Giant Krong Pealy, who embodies the ancestors of earth, water and land, when laying the foundation of a building. In preparing for a performance, the songs invite the Giant Krong Pealy to bless the concert team in staging the event, and ensure that the performances go smoothly. The Thvay Khru ceremony is to request blessings from the masters to protect the performers.
This rarely seen Brahmanist ceremony will be performed in its entirety with the 11-songs to pray Giant Pealy and the Devatas and the 13 songs to pray the masters (Thvay Khru).
The concert will feature:
Tribute to the masters, Smot, the gospel music of Cambodia. Performed only during ceremonies, these traditional incantations create a gospel sound when performed with Khmer classical ensembles and bosbaPANH on vocals.
The ethereal Music of Ung Chinary. Works by the Khmer-American composer, winner of the international Grawemeyer Award, considered an equivalent of the Nobel Prize for composition, will be played by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, one of Hong Kong’s most progressive groups of musicians, violinist Susan Ung and accompanied by Cambodian Tenor Khuon Sethisak.
Apsara songs. bosbaPANH will pay homage to the 1,796 Apsaras (female deities) carved into the walls and columns of Angkor Wat. Apsaras were first depicted on the walls of Angkor dancing in the sky during the Churning of the Sea Milk. Throughout Khmer history, composers have created music for Apsara dances that are still performed today.
The arrival of the 1stChinese Ambassador, Zhou Daguan, at the court of Angkor. This surprising and harmonious composition integrates Chinese and Khmer traditional instruments and features the young Cambodian flautist, Panhlauv, age 10.
Cambodian ballads. Sin Sisamout, Cambodia’s famous pre-war Golden Voice, and Ros Sereysothea launched crooning and Khmer folk-rock in the 1950s and 60s.
Jazz at Angkor. Acclaimed French jazz musician Jean Marc Padovani performs music he composed and first played at Angkor in the 1990s, and is accompanied by the same Khmer traditional mohori ensemble, led by Yun Theara.
Music from exile. Born in the US, 23-year old Laura Mam composes her own music and lyrics, with inspiration from the thriving Cambodian music scene of the 1960s.
Royal songs. Songs written and composed by King Father Norodom Sihanouk have been specially arranged for bosbaPANH.
Ramayana Dance. Choreographed by EM Theay and her family, the first dance, which is performed by Sibxynapanh, 20, and Nam Narim, a contemporary dancer trained in Korea, depicts the battle between the demon Krong Reab and Prince Preah Leak. The second dance features Panhlauv, age 10, as the young Hanuman, the future Monkey King, and his master, who is performed by Thong Kim Ly.
DETAILS OF THE EVENT
Dates and prices:
- Thursday 24 February 2011 - 8 am: Ritual of Krong Pealy - Thway Khru (offerings to the masters) for the Artists and concert team.
- Friday, 25 February 2011 - Sponsors’ Night, with gala dinner and concert: $80-$120 per ticket for dinner, drinks and a contribution to the Foundation for Khmer Arts to help artists in need.
- Saturday, 26th February 2011 - Fans’ night, with concert and open bars: 10,000 riels ($2.5) for seats at the back and $10-20$ for seats in front of the stage.
Time: 6 pm – 9 pm (doors open at 5.00 pm)
Venue: Angkor – Bayon Temple, North Square. Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia. Shuttle buses have been arranged departing from 3 pm-5pm (last bus by 5 pm sharp) from the Tourist Information Center (in front of Victoria Hotel). Pay directly to the driver $1/way ($2 return).
Phnom Penh: Monument Books, T&C Coffee, Lucky Supermarkets.
Siem Reap: Mc Dermott Galleries, Monument Books and Lucky Supermarkets.
Special tours are available for domestic and international visitors that include concert tickets and accommodation at various prices.
Asian Trails. Sophearun (Tel: +855 (0)23 216 555) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. High and mid range packages.
Camroads (Kang Vannak, email@example.com +855 (0) 12 570 097). Entry costs packages.
THE MASTER CAMBODIAN ARTISTS
Queen Indradevi (12th century). Spouse of King Jayavarman VII, the greatest king of the Khmer empire, Queen Indradevi was well-known as a scholar, philosopher, and protector of the arts and ancient scripts. She is considered a Goddess of the Arts by Cambodians.
Queen Kossamak Nearireath (1904–1975). The mother of King father Norodom Sihanouk, Queen Kossamak was instrumental in reviving court dance and music in the 1940s. Under her guidance and patronage, the arts flourished, and many traditional dances were revived and refined at the Conservatory of Performing Arts and the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. The Queen Mother made the royal dance an important part of the royal Khmer court as well as a significant feature in the culture of modern Cambodia.
King Father NORODOM Sihanouk. The King Father, who led Cambodia’s independence from colonial rule, is also a talented musician and composer. He promoted both traditional and modern musical arts, both inside and outside the palace, and kickstarted Cambodia’s pre-war music industry. King Father Sihanouk’s repertoire of songs ranges from traditional compositions to R&B and jazz tunes. His music continues to be learned at the Royal University of Fine Arts.
Venerable Chhuon Nath (1883-1969). He was the Supreme Patriarch Kana Mahanikaya of Cambodia. He spent his life working for conservation of the Khmer language and promoting Khmer identity and history. His achievements include the development of a comprehensive Khmer dictionary and the composition of Cambodia’s national anthem, Nokor Reach, as well as Savada Khmer. He also oversaw the translation of the entire Buddhist cannon from Pali to Khmer. Considered the Shakespeare of Cambodia, Venerable Chhuon Nath is one of Cambodia’s most famous and knowledgeable monks.
SIN Sisamouth (1932-1976). Recordings and renditions of songs by Cambodia’s most popular singer in the 1950s and 60s are still very popular today. Called the Khmer Golden Voice, Sin Sisamouth first became famous as a radio singer in the late fifties, and then branched into film and TV. Although he performed many rock and Latin tunes, he is best known for his silky crooning and is often compared to singers such as Nat King Cole.
EM Theay. A master of Cambodian classical dance, Em Theay is among the 1-in-10 artists who survived mass-murder under Pol Pot. In several books dedicated to Khmer Royal Dance, she is referred to as the Tenth Artist. Born in 1932, Em Theay´s love of dance began when Queen Kossamak noticed her at age 7 and began training her as a classical dancer for the Royal Court. During the Khmer rouge period, nearly all Em Theay’s family were killed, and only 5 of her 18 children survived. After the war, Em Theay returned to dancing and has been designated a Master of Performing Arts by the Ministry of Culture. At age 78, she continues to train young Cambodians in the art of Khmer Royal Dance.
Yun Theara. One of the most gifted mohori players in the country, Theara is widely acclaimed as a master of traditional instruments such as the tror, roneat, flute, and xylophone. He is the General Affairs Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, directs several ensembles and blends western and traditional music in performances such as Jazz at Angkor (Padovani) and Cracking Bamboo (International Percussion Music Festival).
SOY Sareth. Leading the best pinpeat traditional ensemble in Cambodia, Sareth is a Professor in the Music Department at the Royal University of Fine Arts and Culture, and a virtuosi of pinpeat instruments. The pinpeat ensemble, made of wind and percussion instruments, is one of the most ancient Cambodian musical ensembles and is closely associated with the Angkor period. Pinpeat instruments played by celestial dancers are carved into the walls of Angkor Wat.
PROEUNG Pruon. An inspired percussionist, khru Pruon is considered a Living National Treasure for his mastery of roneat ek (xylophone) and traditional drums. With a born instinct for rhythm, he is unrivaled in the art of improvisation when playing with the traditional pinpeat or mohori ensembles.
UNG Chinary. A member of the first graduating class of L'ecole de Musique, Phnom Penh, Ung emigrated to the United States in 1964, where he was one of the first composers to successfully integrate music from East and West. In 1974, he was the first Cambodian composer to obtain a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in composition from Columbia University in New York City. He is currently a Professor of Composition at the University of California, San Diego. His symphonic tone poem, INNER VOICES, which was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra won him a highly coveted international Grawemeyer Award for Composition, considered the 'Nobel Prize' for music composition.
Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME). Comprised of seven professional musicians, HKNME is a chamber ensemble formed in 2008 with some of the best local and international instrumental musicians living in Hong Kong. These include members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and the Chinese Music Virtuosi. The HKNME presents the best new music in Hong Kong by local Hong Kong composers, Asian composers and important international figures. The HKNME also fosters interesting interdisciplinary collaborations and explores experimental music, playing with both conventional and unconventional instruments. (http://www.hknme.org/)
THONG KIM AN. The best ‘Giant Demon King’ role dancer of her generation, Thong Kim An began her classical dance training after completing secondary school education in 1962. Her training involved both classical and traditional dance, and she specialized in the male and ‘giant’ roles. Her career was disrupted by the outbreak of civil war in the 1970s. In 1979, after the Khmer Rouge regime ended, she began performing again with the Ministry of Culture. Currently, Khru Preab, as she is affectionately called by her students, continues to create new pieces and give regular performances.
KHUON Sethisak. The Cambodian tenor is a graduate from Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow and won the Bella Voce competition in Russia in 1994. He became a music teacher at the Royal University of Fine Arts in 1996 and has traveled around the world, studying and performing opera in festivals and recitals. In 2001, he returned to Phnom Penh and has since worked steadily to bring opera to Cambodians.
MAM Laura. 23-year old Cambodian-American singer and songwriter Laura Mam, a UC Berkeley graduate, together with her band The Like Me’s, have been inspired by the thriving Cambodian music scene of the 1960s. One of their first recorded songs pays homage to PEN Ron, one of Cambodia's first female singer-songwriters, who perished during the Khmer Rouge regime.
MARTY Louise and Patrick. Louise, harpist, and Patrick, trumpeter, are professional musicians who founded 20 years ago, the school Les Trois Tambours. The school provides instrument courses, group training for orchestras and choirs to over 200 students in Paris. The school has developed similar projects throughout the world (Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany). It provides experienced musical education and training by means of exchanges between young musicians, and events for artistic creation projects. Louise and Patrick join Jean Marc Padovani in Jazz at Angkor and interpret their own composition with Bosbapanh. (www.3tambours.com)
NAM Narim. Nam Narim comes from a long family line of esteemed Cambodian classical dancers. Her grandmother is Em Theay, and her mother, Thong Kim An, is considered the greatest ‘Giant Demon King role’ dancer of her generation. Her six brothers and sisters are all established dancers and musicians. Starting to dance at the age of 9, she holds a BA in choreographic arts from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and a master’s degree in choreography from the Korean National University of Arts. She is a member of the Cambodian National Theatre troupe of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
O’BRIEN Sarah. A British composer and cellist, Sarah is one of Hollywood's leading studio musicians. She has recorded and performed live with celebrities such as Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston. In 1994 Sarah was selected by Yanni for his World Tour and has been touring and featured in all his DVDs since that time. In August 2010 Bosba was the child soloist in the new musical "Winds of Angkor" that was composed by Sarah and presented at Phnom Penh's Chatomuk Theatre. Bosba will be performing Sarah’s new composition for the Angkor concert.
PANHLauv. The 10-year old younger brother of bosbaPANH, is a gifted flutist, clarinetist and drummer. Trained in China, the Philippines and Cambodia, he is the youngest flutist in the kingdom and his teachers say that he will become a great musician and conductor.
PADOVANI, Jean-Marc. Saxophonist and leading French jazz composer, Jean-Marc Padovani composes jazz with lyricism, brassy enthusiasm, melancholy, and sensuality. Drawing on his inspiration, he has formed a quartet, created shows, directed a brass band, and composed several flamenco pieces, blending jazz and traditions from Africa and Occitanie in south-east France. In 1997, he composed Jazz at Angkor and played it with Khmer musicians such as YunTheara. Padovani is coming specially from Paris to take part in this two-day concert.
SibxynaPANH. The 20-year old brother of bosbaPANH, Sibxynapanh, has been learning Ramayana classical dance since the age of 6. Now studying in Beijing, he is preparing to enter the Beijing Dance Academy, the premier institute for dance in China. This will provide an important opportunity to contribute to Cambodian classical dance by adding western classical ballet and Chinese dance traditions.
bosbaPANH is a young Khmer Soprano age 13. She has been performing since the age of 8 with her semi-classical bosbaBand. An ambassador of Khmer culture and representing a promising future for her country, bosbaPANH sings songs for life phleng cheewit from Cambodia as well as an international repertoire. Because bosbaPANH strives to promote the finest of Khmer heritage, the best of Cambodia’s master musicians and dancers to survive the Khmer Rouge regime are joining her for this unique show. bosbaPANH has already released three CDs, five singles and two DVDs from previous concerts.