THE grounds around the ancient façade of the Bayon Temple came to life on Friday and Saturday night with a two-day concert billed as Tribute to the Masters.
International recognition for the featured talents of Cambodian 13-year-old soprano Bosbapanh attracted many artists and musicians to perform at the Angkor Wat stage in Siem Reap.
“We have many unique performers on the same stage in order to rebuild our Khmer culture, ranging from old to young artists,” said Bosbapanh.
Khmer artists from all corners of the world were excited about sharing the same stage, said Sarah O’Brien, the leading musician for Studio Hollywood, who composed a song for the gifted young soprano.
“Bosbapanh has brought the uniqueness of music to life, and it is my honour to compose music for her. She is an artist of incredible potential, and I believe that the future is changing rapidly around her,” said O’Brien.
Khmer-American singer Mom Laura, accompanied by Bosbapanh, sang a song about a refugee, expressing her passion and love for her home country and culture. The 24-year-old singer was born in the United States but her parents were refugees.
“In this song, I say that my heart is Khmer, but my body does not reflect that. It’s because I am a Khmer who loves Cambodia and am proud to be born Khmer, but when I come to Cambodia, other Khmer children always say that I’m a foreigner, and when I am in the USA, I am seen as a Khmer in the USA. So this song is a bit sad because I miss my homeland, Cambodia.
“My goal is to make Khmer children in the USA proud and aware of the history and culture of Cambodia,” said Mom Laura. “I am very excited to have participated in the performance with all artists in front of the Bayon Temple. I am extremely happy to have performed at this temple, because I used to study Khmer history when I was in college.”
Although some of the audience seemed not so much interested in the opening song, they were smiling and cheering by the end of the concert. After the music ended, spectators surged towards the stage waving their cameras and mobile phones, eager to take pictures.
Bosbapanh explained that the rehearsal schedule was tight for the concert. “We only had six months to prepare. I’ve also got to manage my school work and art work, so I hope to work harder on both.”