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Cambodia’s Golden Voices Legacies


CKS is proud to host the inaugural lecture of the “Cambodia Seminar Series” organized by The Center for Khmer Studies (CKS), The New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), and The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS)

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. This led to a flourishing of music in the form of romantic songs followed by the arrival of a Western/Cambodian mix of rock and roll. Musicians and songwriters did not reject everything they had learned from traditional Khmer music, nor did they fully embrace Western musical imports. Rather, composers, songwriters, and singers crafted a hybrid music culture by mixing the best of all the genres drawn from a variety of local, national, and international influences. This process is referred to as transculturation. This webinar examines the lyrics of popular Cambodian songs from the prewar era to the Khmer Rouge (1953–1975).


Dr. LinDa Saphan is an established voice in the field of Cambodian cultural studies and has published extensively on Cambodian prewar popular music. She was the lead researcher and associate producer for the documentary film Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll and acted as executive producer for several other film projects. Contributing to contemporary visual arts, Dr. Saphan has exhibited original works in “1975” and “Interlace”. Her upcoming book Faded Reels: The Art of Four Cambodian Filmmakers 1960-1975 will be published in 2022 by the Royal University of Phnom Penh. She is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, New York City.

Dr. Duncan McCargo is Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, and a Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. He was a visiting professor at the Center for Khmer Studies in 2004-05, has published a number of articles on Cambodia, and is a co-founder of the New York Southeast Asia Network.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the publications and through webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. The designations employed in the publications and through the webinars, and the presentation of material therein, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. as to the matters discussed therein. The responsibility for opinions expressed in the publications and webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers, and the publication does not constitute an endorsement by The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. of the opinions, views or issues discussed therein.


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