Singer Releases First Album of Cham Music

For the first time since com­pact discs and cassettes were in­tro­duced in Cambodia, an al­bum with songs in the minority language of Cham Muslims has been launched, a record executive said Monday.

Since the album by male Cham sing­er Valaty was released in Feb­ruary, it has sold 1,000 cassettes, said Hak Arifin, director of the Cham­pa Entertainment company. A small number of the al­bums, which sell for $0.63 for cassettes and $1.50 for a CD, have been exported to the US.

“We do this to preserve the Cham language,” Hak Arifin said. “This is the first time to produce the song [in Cham]. No­bo­dy used to produce and write these songs before.”

The songs’ titles describe the beau­ty of Cham women, the pre­ser­vation of Cham traditions, Cham fishermen and the Chrang Chamres Commune in Russei Keo district.

“The songs are about educating people in a religious way. No politics is involved. A little love is mixed in the songs. The melody is the same as Khmer music,” Hak Arifin said.

There are about 1 million Chams in Cambodia, with only half of them speaking the Cham language, Hak Arifin said.

Som Sokun, director of the Ci­ne­ma and Culture Diffusion de­part­ment at the Ministry of Cul­ture and Fine Arts, said on Mon­day that although he was not aware of the album, he welcomed the preservation of Cham language. He said the songs should also be listened to by Khmers.

“I don’t have anything against it because people can learn the languages of each other,” Som So­kum said on Monday.

A second volume of music by Valaty will be comprised of 10 songs and will be released at the end of April.



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