Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Art scholarships to save traditional talent




Art scholarships to save traditional talent

Art scholarships to save traditional talent

120926_17a
Lun Chom Neta, 23, musician and one of this year’s arts scholarship recipients, is pictured in the Cambodian Living Arts office, in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Alex Crook/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) has launched its second annual $1,200 arts scholarships for young people in the Kingdom who snub K-Pop in favour of classical Cambodian music.

Yesterday, the arts organisation, which aims to preserve traditional arts, started taking applications for the Chorn-Pond Arts scholarship, which is named after the organisation’s founder who credits the Cambodian music culture with saving his life.

Having survived the Khmer Rouge regime by performing for government officials as a flutist, Chorn-Pond believes that he is bound to keep alive the classical arts.

The scholarship will help develop young Khmer performers into artists and professionals who will keep traditional performing arts alive. “The aim of the CLA and the scholarship is to restore local Khmer art and then develop it,” said Chorn-Pond. “They offer an alternative to the Korean-Pop and Western cultures that many young people are interested in,” he said.

According to Chorn-Pond, the scholarship is a great opportunity for youth who are interested in local arts to attend schools, and develop skills that they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Alongside their country’s growth, Cambodian youth have developed a taste for foreign cultures – imported beers, massage parlours and night clubs. But there are some who want to remember who they are and where they come from.

Chem Sreyry will receive the scholarship for the second year in a row. Having studied the smot (a traditional Cambodian classical chant) for almost four years, she said the scholarship will allow her to continue studying English at the University of Cambodia while attending smot classes once a week.

The smot, which Sreyry, 19, describes as slow and sad, has become much less popular over the years as the younger generation moves to the city where it is exposed to more modern music. “Young people do not like the chants anymore,” she said. “They call it the ghost song because it is sometimes performed at funerals.”

The scholarship program which is entering its second year, managed to increase the number of awarded scholarships from six to 20 after receiving even more funding from donors throughout the country.

It is open to any Cambodian traditional arts student or professional and gives priority to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The applicants, who range between 18 and 33, study a wide variety of artistic traditions from circus to mime and dance to music.

Each successful candidate is awarded up to $1,200 a year to cover school fees and other study-related expenses. For 23-year-old Lun Chom Neta, the scholarship is an opportunity to continue his passion for the ksa-diew, a single-stringed instrument, which was passed down from his grandfather.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lionel Mok at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that