By: Vorn Makara
Cambodia’s diaspora of populations
scattered across the world have many
things in common, not least their love
Universal Khmer Song Festival 2010
heard nearly four months of traditional
and contemporary songs to choose Cambodian’s
sweetest singers. Singers from
all 24 provinces and Cambodians living
abroad joined the competition. This year
saw Cambodians living in the US, Canada,
Australia, France and the Netherlands
The July 23 closing ceremony at Diamond
Island in Phnom Penh saw the
prizes awarded. Deputy Prime Minister
Men Sam An presided at the wellattended
event, with a diverse crowd of
artists, students, journalists, foreigners
and ordinary Cambodians.
The festival was originally the idea of
Prime Minister Hun Sen, a bid integrate
Khmer artists who had migrated to live
outside Cambodia between 1975 and 1982,
said Noy Rauv, the organizer’s assistant
of the Universal Khmer Song Festival.
This festival was jointly organized by
the Ministries of Culture and Fine Arts,
Tourism, Education, Foreign Affairs, Interior,
and others, with cooperation from
Canadia Bank and sponsorship from
many other companies and organizations.
“The aim of celebration this festival is
to maintain and glorify our Khmer culture
and to encourage both traditional
and contemporary artists,” said Minister
of Culture and Fine Arts Hem Cheam.
Men Sam An said the Universal Khmer
Song Festival offers a way to strengthen
Cambodian national identity. “Our country
needs all kinds of arts and culture to
honor our Khmer national identity and
maintain and develop Khmer culture to
face globalization,” she said.
Dy Saveth, a famous Cambodian actress
during 1960s, said the event should be used
to remember Cambodian artists of years
gone by. “This festival is very good for the
younger generation of Cambodian people
both living locally and abroad like singing.
And I am happy knowing that … this event
can preserve Khmer culture and remind
our Cambodia people about famous Khmer
singers who have already died, like Sin Sisamouth
and Ros Serey Sothear.”
Ordinary audience members also
seemed to take pride in the display of
contemporary and traditional Khmer culture.
“We can spread our tradition and
culture to people who don’t known about
it yet, especially people living abroad. It
is useful for university students like me
to know about our wedding music or
traditional songs as well,” Tauch Sophal
Samphos, a student of Royal University
of Fine Arts, told Economics Today.
48 ECONOMICS TODAY August 1-15, 2010