Nate Hun born in Lowell, MA began collecting and preserving prewar Cambodian popular music in his childhood, becoming an expert on Cambodian rock as a collector of records, tapes, and other memorabilia.
Directed by LinDa Saphan
Cinematography by John Pirozzi
Edited by Edmund Carson
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It’s so thrilling to hear Cambodian singers at the Kennedy Center, I feel they have been rightfully acknowledged.
It is with great honor that I stand here with the film’s director, John Pirozzi, to present our film and help kick off the re-opening of the Millenium Stage Summer at the REACH organized by Samasama and the Kennedy Center.
We’d like to thank the entire Kennedy Center team and Seda Nak and Les Talusan from Samasama for making it happen.
Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten itself is a celebration of the universal power of music and its ability to transcend borders and speak to so many people despite their cultural differences.
As it happens Cambodian popular musicians were particularly adept at synthesizing many different styles of music from all over the world and creating music that you may find familiar yet unique at the same time.
The film is a celebration of Cambodian musical creativity and the music’s resiliency.
Popular and Political Songwriting in Cambodia: From Sihanouk’s Prewar Golden Age to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge
By LinDa Saphan and Nate Hun
Hun, N., Kim, M., Lee, Y., Nelson, R., Oum, R. O., & Saphan, L.,(2021), The Golden Age of Cambodian Popular Music, Kim, M.(Ed.), Seoul: Hyunsilbook
김미정, 로저 넬슨, 린다 사판, 움 로따낙 오돔, 이용우, 네이트 훈, (2021), 캄보디아 대중음악의 황금시대, 김미정(엮), 서울: 현실문화
Music has been prominent in daily life in Cambodia since ancient times. Following centuries of political turmoil and warfare, Cambodia experienced a brief period of peace, prosperity, and modernization under King Norodom Sihanouk in the 1950s and 1960s, leading to a flourishing of music in the form of romantic songs followed by the arrival of a Western/Cambodian mix of rock and roll. Ultimately the majority of modern musicians were killed by the Khmer Rouge for their “antirevolutionary” music. Since gaining independence from France in 1953, Cambodia has experienced a series of rapid political regime changes, each characterized by authoritarianism. Each regime, from Sihanouk to Lon Nol, the Khmer Rouge, and Hun Sen, used music for political purposes. This chapter examines the lyrics of popular and political Cambodian songs from the prewar era to the Khmer Rouge (1953–1979), to understand how music both reflected and shaped changing sociopolitical currents.
Keywords: Songwriters, composers, Cambodia, popular music.
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