A global voice for Khmer music

A global voice for Khmer music

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From left: Loren Alonzo, Monique Coquilla, Laura Mam and Helena Hong. Photo Supplied

Khmer-American singer Laura Mam and her band The Like Me’s have finally made the jump from internet to television with the release of their first music video, Pka Proheam Rik Popreaym (Morning Flowers Blossoming) on CTN and MyTV, while a second video – Sva Rom Monkiss (Monkey Dance Monkey) – will have its TV debut as early as today.

The all-girl band – two Khmer-American and two Filipino-American members – has a large following here and among the Southeast Asian community in the States, but it has its sights set on a much larger audience.

“One of my ambitions has always been to fly the flag for Cambodia’s music overseas. With my background and upbringing, I think that I am in a unique position to do just that,” Laura Mam told 7Days. “When it comes to music, Cambodia has always had a lot to offer – to the country and to the world.”

The Like Me’s style – blending traditional Khmer music with pop and rhythm and blues – has drawn more than a million hits on their website, while their single Morning Flowers Blossoming has had more than 500,000.

Over the next year they plan to release nine songs: three will be covers of Cambodian classics and the other six will be written by the band, whose mission is to help revive Cambodia’s once vibrant music scene by showing that originality works.

They also plan to release English versions of some of their songs. “We intend to write and produce as much of our music as possible,” Laura Mam said

“Cambodia is ripe for new and original music. While on tour last year in Cambodia, something struck me and has stayed with me since. The Cambodian youth, whether abroad or in Cambodia, all share one trait: they are hungry – hungry for honesty, creativity, modernity and identity. I think that our generation has the heavy responsibility of honouring our past and yet finding a new voice for the future.”

Laura Mam will return to Cambodia next week, and the rest of her band will follow.

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