Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Country music

We suppose that anything that reminds us of Communist genocide--or introduces it for those too young to have experienced it--is valuable, but this WSJ story does seem to trivialize what happened in Cambodia in the 1970s after the Americans abandoned it;
Directed by John Pirozzi, “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten” focuses on the vital music scene in Phnom Penh, the country’s cosmopolitan capital in the years following Cambodian independence from France in late 1953 until the Khmer Rouge’s arrival in 1975. The music drew on Western influences without ever stooping to pure imitation. Sinn Sisamouth, considered the country’s greatest singer and songwriter, moved away from crooning with an orchestra at his back to embrace rock instrumentation. Meanwhile, Baksey Cham Krong was playing guitar-based surf rock, with Mol Kagnol reflecting the inspiration of Dick Dale, Hank Marvin of the Shadows, Bob Bogle of the Ventures and others. “I had a nickname,” he said with a modest smile during a conversation before the show: “The Hank Marvin of Cambodia.”
That's written by Jim Fusilli, described as, Mr. Fusilli is the Journal’s rock and pop music critic. It's all rock and roll to me.

By 1965, the U.S. military was in Vietnam, with troops stationed near the Cambodian border. Musicians in Phnom Penh, some of whom learned of Western music via records brought in from Paris, now heard American rock, blues, soul and pop via a branch of Armed Forces Radio. Superstars emerged: Ros Serey Sothea, who Cambodia’s ruler, Norodom Sihanouk, called “the golden voice of the royal capital”; the provocative Pen Ran; and Yol Aularong, a hard-rocking protest singer, among them.
What's really important? Oh;
All three, along with Sinn Sisamouth, were executed or left to die by the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian genocide that, among other atrocities, sought to eliminate artistic and cultural progressives in an effort to de-Westernize the nation. It is estimated that some 1.7 million people, or about 21% of the population, were killed by the followers of the Communist regime, which fell in 1979.

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