Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman who reunited early rockers dies at 72




Woman who reunited early rockers dies at 72

Ros Saboeut, the elder sister of 1960s singer Ros Serey Sothea
Ros Saboeut, the elder sister of 1960s singer Ros Serey Sothea, at a reunion show for surviving pre-Khmer Rouge musicians in Phnom Penh in 2010. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Woman who reunited early rockers dies at 72

Ros Saboeut, the elder sister of celebrated singer Ros Serey Sothea, who played an integral role in reuniting Cambodia’s musicians scattered by the Khmer Rouge regime, died last Thursday.

A funeral and cremation ceremony was held yesterday for the 72-year-old from Phnom Penh, who died from complications after a fall.

Saboeut appeared in a documentary about the pre-Khmer Rouge rock ‘n’ roll scene, recalling memories of her sister, beloved for songs such as "I’m Sixteen" and "Have You Seen My Love?", and dubbed “the golden voice of the royal capital” by the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Serey Sothea died sometime during the Democratic Kampuchea period but her elder sister survived and went on to bring together many musicians from the “Golden Age” of Cambodian music.

Youk Chhang, executive director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said Saboeut told him musicians came to her looking for her younger sister, allowing her to put them in touch with each other.

“I think she was bound by the legacy of her sister to help,” Chhang said.

John Pirozzi, the director of the film Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, about the golden age of Cambodian rock before the Khmer Rouge takeover, offered a moving tribute to Saboeut.

Pirozzi posted a message on the CambodianRock Facebook page, saying that Saboeut was “gracious” when interviewed. “She was very sweet and also very expressive in both her exuberance in remembering the good times with her sister before the war, and in her sadness in remembering the tragic loss of her sister and other family members during the Khmer Rouge era,” he wrote.

“There was both much laughter and many tears in the course of her interview.

“I will always be very grateful to her for sharing her stories and feelings about her sister.

“She struck me as a very gentle and kind person.”

Than Seyma, a friend of Saboeut for seven years, echoed these sentiments, saying that she was a gentle, friendly and humorous person who always had a childlike way about her.

She said she recalled taking Saboeut to a park one day where she played on a seesaw until she was stopped by a security guard who said that they were only for children.

She said Saboeut’s seven-day ceremony would begin on Wednesday.

Saboeut is survived by Ros Sabeoun, the eldest and last remaining of Serey Sothea’s four siblings, one daughter and three grandchildren.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed

  • Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries. He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’