A series of music concerts by local and international artists will provide free music performances and cultural entertainment to underprivileged people living in Cambodia’s rural areas from February 4 to 11.
The Opening Doors tour aims to “bring the music to the people” who would not otherwise have access to live music or cultural activities.
“All we want to do is bring entertainment and cultural activities to people in the provinces who can’t afford to enjoy it,” Marcel Crompvoets, who helped organise the tour, says.
The first Opening Doors concert will be at Kampot Music School for Disabled and Orphaned Children, run by the Khmer Cultural Development Institute.
Local musician Kong Boran, son of traditional musician Kong Nay, will play the chepai, a Cambodian two-stringed, long-necked guitar.
Conrad Keely, lead singer of the US band And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, will perform acoustic versions of folk, rock and punk classics with the Kampot Playboys.
“There's a lot of passion and love by the artists who do it. Our artists who participate do it for free, and the international artists pay the way for the Cambodian musicians,” Keely says.
Students from the school will get a chance to perform classical Khmer music and dance.
“They are very excited, calling me every day and checking to see if we’re still coming,” Crompvoets says.
Other musicians in the villages will be given an opportunity to perform at the shows.
“We invite and encourage them all to perform, so we never know if a show is going to be two hours or five hours long.”
Crompvoets says he was encouraged to take Opening Doors into the province once more after a successful tour in November with the Canadian performance group Corpus.
Corpus performed its award-winning play Les Moutons to several villages and orphanages in the countryside.
“More than 600 people showed up and stayed for the entire performance. There was so much joy from the villagers, who rarely have access to cultural activities.”
After Kampot, Kong Boran and Conrad Keely will travel to Chamkar Bey village, in the Phnom Voar region.
The last three shows will be held at villages in Kompong Chhnang province.