Audiovisual Day Marked With Tribute to Cambodian Classics

Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll music from the 1960s, a documentary film on ancient wedding music and film archives on three generations of Khmer classical dancers were some of the programs unveiled Friday during an event marking World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

Held at the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center on Phnom Penh’s Street 200, in cooperation with Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) and Unesco, the event began with a workshop on Cambodian traditional music and ended with a concert by the Cambodian band The Underdogs, who play Cambodian 1960s rock.

Traditionally held October 27, World Audiovisual Heritage day commemorates the U.N.’s adoption in 1980 of the “Recommend­ation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images.”

The Cambodian organizations in­volved in the event had a great deal to share about this goal.

Over the past 12 months, CLA produced five CDs on threatened forms of traditional music, said the organization’s spokeswoman, Marion Gommard.

One of the threatened forms is a centuries-old type of wedding music. A documentary filmed during the recording of the CD, played by traditional musicians, will be shown on CNC television network on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Khmer with English subtitles, Ms. Gom­mard said.

The Bophana Center, which last month released a CD titled “Cambodian Forgotten Songs,” based on a songbook from 1921, also launched on Friday a CD of 1960s and early 1970s Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll.

“The music was originally recorded on vinyl records,” said Chea Sopheap, the center’s archivist. Reproducing them on a CD took months of work, he said.

French-Cambodian researcher Suppya Nut said at the event that the Bophana Center has inherited about 50 hours of interviews with the few surviving dance masters from the 1960s.

“I soon started interviewing art­ists of the second and third generations, and not only dancers but also the musicians and even those who embroider costumes and make the headgears,” Ms. Nut said of her five-year project, which was funded by Anne Bass, a U.S.-based patron of the arts.

The original filmed interviews are kept at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, said Ms. Nut.

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