A fundraising effort for the 13-year-old son of Cambodian singer Kak Channthy, who was killed this week in a traffic accident, is underway, with friends and well-wishers to gather for several events in the coming days.
The lead singer of the Cambodian Space Project, 38-year-old Channthy was killed in a crash in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Her body was laid to rest on Thursday in Prey Veng. Fundraising efforts are being spearheaded by her close friend Sao Sopheak, a DJ and filmmaker.
“We were best friends and we were supposed to perform together this Saturday but unfortunately she died . . . I’m very upset,” she said on the phone from the funeral. “Now the event has changed to a memorial.”
What was supposed to be a casual performance at Phnom Penh’s Meta House featuring the two friends, with Sopheak as DJ and the Space Project frontwoman singing, instead will be a musical tribute to the late artist, and one of several fundraising efforts to ensure her son Makara can continue his schooling in Phnom Penh.
Sopheak began to organise fundraising via Facebook the day after seeing the massive outpouring of grief online and the desire from friends and fans around the world to help in some way.
“Everyone already sent me money for the funeral,” she said. “But on Saturday I want to raise money for her son’s education”.
Meta House founder Nico Mesterharm said he hoped the event would be a chance for the wide and disparate group of Channthy’s friends to come together and “demonstrate their solidarity” with the late singer’s family.
Already fundraising efforts have cropped up at the Little Red Fox Espresso in Siem Reap, which will hold an event on Sunday night, and at Oscar’s on the Corner in the capital, which will be accepting donations at its 10th anniversary concert on Saturday night.
At Meta House’s Saturday event, films and photos featuring Channthy will be projected and there will be live performances by the surviving members of the Cambodian Space Project, as well as by Khmer rock revival group Aram Khmer and hip-hop artist MC Lisha.
“Meta House owes a lot to Srey Thy, ever since her first performance in 2007,” Mesterharm said, using her stage name. “She started from being the girl who sang what she was told to choosing her own way . . . You could see how this profession really built her up.”
On Tuesday, a scheduled photo exhibition of Phnom Penh’s music scene at Meta House by music photographer Steve Porte featuring a dozen portraits and as many performance shots of six Cambodian and six expatriate musicians is now dedicated to Channthy. Donations for her family will be accepted. Scott Bywater, a collaborator and close friend of Channthy’s will also perform at the exhibition opening.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody, not just those who send money but also those who send messages,” Sopheak said. “This is for sharing the memories of Channthy.”
A Musical Farewell to Channthy (1980-2018) will take place at Meta House, #37 Sothearos Boulevard from 9pm-2am on Saturday. Porte’s exhibition will open on Tuesday at 6pm.