Cambodian Forgotten Songs Vol I & II

by Bophana Center

From a 1921 compilation of traditional Khmer songs, the timeless musical heritage of Cambodia.

Bophanamusic2 2

Published: 2008

Author: Bophana Center

Language : Khmer

In the 1990s, Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh stumbled on an elegant book published in Saigon and Phnom Penh in 1921: Chansons Cambodgiennes, by Albert Tricon and M. Bellan (a copy of the original edition is available at Angkor Database Library at Templation Hotel, Siem Reap).

Working on the musical theme scores and somehow approximative transcriptions of the Khmer lyrics, contemporary researchers and musicians achieved a beautiful rendition of these mostly forgotten songs.

This repertoire reflects three musical genres: Arek, "spirit possession songs" originating from pre-Angkorian traditions, Mohorisongs celebrating Nature and love performed at the Royal courts and social celebrations, and popular tunes in fashion during the first half of the 20th century in Cambodia.

A Bophana Audivisual Resource Center Production.

Volume I: Recordings of 8 of the 54 traditional songs listed in "Chansons cambodgiennes" started in 2008, with Amrita Performing Arts musicians and singers.

Volume II (listen here)8 more songs under the musical direction of Prof. Yun "Theara" Khean, project manager Chea Sopheap, were released in 2013.

Both compilations are available in Angkor Database Musical Collection

Tags: Khmer musical instruments, Khmer Music

About the Author


Bophana Center

Founded in 2006 by internationally-awarded filmmaker Rithy Panh and Ieu Pannakar, Senator, Minister of the Royal Palace, who was in charge of broadcasting and cinema services from 1955 until 1970 in independent Cambodia.

A rich film and audio archive collection, the Bophana Center in Phnom Penh has collected and labeled more than 700 hours of video and audio recordings and welcomed some 240,000 visitors since its opening in 2006.