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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pop but no hip-hop at Khmer song fest

Pop but no hip-hop at Khmer song fest

THE Commission of Inter-Ministries will organise the Universal Khmer Song Festival 2010 from July 1 to 23 in Phnom Penh, with all Cambodian citizens eligible to enter.

The competition will be run in cooperation with the ministries of Culture and Fine Arts; Economy and Finance; Education, Youth and Sport; Interior; and Foreign Affairs, with Canadia Bank serving as the main sponsor.

Khim Sarith, the secretary of state of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MCFA), said the contest was aimed at preserving and developing Cambodian culture, and particularly traditional and pop music.

“If we have our own singers, people might reduce their viewing of foreign artists,” he said.

The competition will proceed through four rounds. The first round selection will take place before July in each province, with competitors required to register at their provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts.

Cambodian citizens living overseas will be selected by their local associations abroad. They can also contact the nearest Cambodian consulates or register online at www.mcfa.gov.kh.

Only four singers – two traditional and two pop – will be selected from each province to attend the second round at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, Phnom Penh, from July 1 to 3.

From this group, 24 males and 24 females will be selected to continue to the third round, which will start on July 13. These numbers will be rounded down to 14 male and 14 female contestants for the final round, which will be held on July 22 and 23.

Pich Tomkravel, the MCFA’s undersecretary of state, said contestants can choose existing songs or perform original material.

“But their songs should not interfere with the government’s policies,” he added. Organisers also said hip-hop would not be allowed because it originated outside of Cambodia.

“It doesn’t matter whether participants are professional singers or ordinary people, they are welcome for this competition,” Pich Tomkravel said. “Their natural talent will be judged rather than the way they dress or the way they gesture.”

He said prizes have not yet been decided but would likely be at least six million riel for first, four million riel for second and three million riel for third in each category.

The third and fourth rounds of the contest, from July 13 till 23, will be open to the public at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre.
At least 3,000 seats will be available, and entrance will be free.

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