Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian breakdancers bust moves in Mexico City

Cambodian breakdancers bust moves in Mexico City

Cambodian breakdancers bust moves in Mexico City

Homegrown hip-hop sensations KorMix rapped up a storm on the Global Youth Village stage in Mexico City at an international AIDs conference

The KorMix kids, Cambodia's home-grown hip-hop stars, received a hero's welcome home on Sunday after a stint in Mexico City where they performed in front of a 240,000-strong audience at an international Aids conference.

"They were getting asked for autographs and photos in Mexico ... they loved it," said Wicked, director of KorMix's parent organization, Korsang, a local harm-reduction NGO.

"They just love to perform," he said. 

Five members of KorMix, a creative crew of former and current drug addicts who use hip-hop music and breakdancing as a way of getting clean, travelled with Wicked and KorMix luminary Boomer to Mexico City.

"We were a bit afraid of making a mistake on stage, but were excited when the crowd started cheering for us," said Makara, 18, a KorMix performer and former drug user.

KorMix is a creative arts program that was established by Korsang two years ago, which gives current and former drug users the opportunity to build character and leadership by letting them create hip-hop music.

"Participants can write their own beats and lyrics and record songs in the Torsou or "Survivor" studio," said Wicked.

But the songs KorMix create are a far cry from standard hip-hop fare and Korsang's rappers lay down tracks about drug prevention like "Why, Why, Why", a song that will be featured in an upcoming documentary about Korsang made by David Everhardt.

Leaving home

The trip to Mexico was the first overseas trip for the five members of KorMix - Chhoun Sambath, Kong Piseth, Sorn Makara, Chhon Sambo and Bo Tethiadeth.

While nerves were running high when it was time to go on stage, the KorMix kids feel confident that they have shown the world that Cambodians can breakdance and rap as well as anybody else.

"We were so happy to perform our song and do some breakdancing for [the audience in Mexico]," said Makara, who added that Mexico had made "a real impression," and that he and all the KorMix kids would visit Mexico again if they had the chance.

The five have all confirmed that they have now stopped using drugs. "I feel better since I have stopped using drugs and my breakdancing has also improved," Piseth, 19, said.

For Tethiadeth, who at 17 was the youngest KorMix kid to go to Mexico, the trip also showed him how valuable compassion can be, he said, adding that discrimination against drug users in his native Cambodia upsets him as "I feel people should help drug users be different, help them improve instead of ignoring them."

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman