Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Paris concert introduces Khmer hip-hop to French audience



Paris concert introduces Khmer hip-hop to French audience

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A combination photo of KlapYaHandz stars Ruthko and Vuthea. SUPPLIED

Paris concert introduces Khmer hip-hop to French audience

SABAY – a live concert in Paris – is back for 2022, after having to postpone last year’s show due to Covid-19 restrictions. Cambodian hip hop artists Vuthea and Ruthko will perform, alongside many French-Asian artists, including singers and DJs.

Held for the second time in partnership with the Samaki Kohn Khmer Association, the show will introduce modern Cambodian music live to a new audience and, through these talented young emerging artists, will build strong links between France and Cambodia, according to a Sabay Events’ press release.

Both artists are signed to KlapYaHandz Records, the Kingdom’s premier hip hop record label.

“We wanted to invite KlapYaHandz one more time because their founder is French-Cambodian and we share the same vision for modern Cambodian music,” said Helene Malterre, the event co-organiser.

The Sabay movement was launched in 2016 by Dara Thong, a Cambodian born in France who discovered the talent and emergence of Southeast Asian youth during several trips to Cambodia.

Malterre and Dara are two young French-Cambodians who hope to strengthen ties between the Kingdom and the European nation.

Dara’s goal is to offer French people a new musical and cultural repertoire. Furthermore, it will allow Asian artists introductions to a new continent, thanks in particular to Dara’s multiple events (festivals, exhibitions, round tables, screenings-debates and a food market).

Dara decided it would be a good idea to hold a concert in France after he met KlapYaHandz founder Sok Visal, a Cambodian who fled the country during the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime.

The live event was born out of stories of connections between Khmer youth in France and Cambodia. And thanks to the success of the first event, KlapYaHandz is returning to present to the world the emergence and artistic renewal of Cambodian youth through the musical scene, this year through two of its stars: Vuthea and Ruthko.

“The headliners will be the two Cambodian artists, but there will be other performances by French-Asian artists, likely French-Cambodian, French-Laotian and French-Vietnamese,” Malterre told The Post.

With a fusion of traditional and modern music, she says, KlapYaHandz has created a sound that brings all generations of Khmer together across the globe.

“Our goal is to provide access to new sounds from Southeast Asia to a diverse audience. Emerging in Europe and highly valued in Cambodia, these artists through their talent will offer an incredible experience to all who wish to discover Cambodian hip-hop,” she added.

Almost 500 people attended the previous concert organised in Paris in 2020, Malterre said, adding that it was a great success.

She said the event was planned just before Covid-19 got serious, and they were very lucky to be able to go ahead with the concert.

This year, they decided to replicate the experience by inviting KlapYaHandz to France for a second time. They expect to bring 600-800 people together for the show, she added.

“It is important for France and Cambodia to create cultural links. The two countries share a strong history. We also want to push Cambodian local artists on the international scene, because they deserve it,” said Malterre.

Visal, a French-Cambodian, founded KlapYaHandz Records in 2005 after returning to Cambodia in 1993. His label consists of 12 artists – ambassadors of the young Khmer generation – and one international group. More than 660,000 people subscribe to the label’s YouTube channel, and over 177 million have viewed their videos.

The event will be held in Paris on October 14.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10