Music of Cambodia
|Southeast Asian music|
Much of modern Cambodian culture is derived from the ancient Khmer Empire of the 8th to the 15th century. Since the fall of the totalitarian Khmer Rouge, however, the country has begun rapid Westernization.
Cambodian folk music is highly influenced by ancient forms as well as Hindu forms. Religious dancing, many of which depict stories and ancient myths, are common. Some dances are accompanied by a pinpeat orchestra, which includes a ching (cymbal), roneat (bamboo xylophone), pia au (flute), srlay (oboe), chappay (bass banjo), ghong (bronze gong), tro (violin) and various kinds of drums. Each movement the dancer makes refers to a specific idea, including abstract concepts like today (pointing a finger upwards). The 1960s saw a revival in classical dance, led by Princess Norodom Buppha Devi. The mid- to late 1970s, however, ended this revival as the Khmer Rouge took over the country and killed some ninety percent of musical performers.
Cambodian pop music, or jamrieng samai, is divided into two categories: ramvong and ramkbach. Ramvong is slow dance music, while ramkbach is closely related to Thai folk music. Famous pop singers include Sereysothla, Pechanda, Sinonwannaa, Ment Kao Pechita, Noi Vanneth, Song Senhorn and especially 1960s and 70s superstar Sisamouth. In the province Siem Reap, a form of music called kantrum has become popular; originally Thai, kantrum is famous for Thai and Cambodian stars like Darkie and Paypongrath.