Festival of Khmer dance and music

New Khmer Artists will dance as part of the Friendship Festival. Photo supplied
New Khmer Artists will dance as part of the Friendship Festival. Photo supplied

Festival of Khmer dance and music

A week-long festival of music and dance kicks off on Monday evening with a performance by 50 musicians from Cambodian Living Arts in collaboration with master musician Kong Nay, Cambodia’s own “Ray Charles”, at the King’s Road Angkor.

The performance marks the beginning of the Dontrey Chub Met, or Friendship Festival, a celebration of Cambodian music, musicians and performers with concerts in nine different venues bringing together more than 100 artists from across the Kingdom and abroad. 

“We aimed to include a good variety of styles, from traditional Cambodian orchestral through to ’60s rock ’n’ roll, hip-hop, rap and more, all with a Khmer flavour, though there are a few international acts as well,” said event organiser Ian Croft of 60 Road Studios, who came up with the idea for the event.

One of the acts in the line-up most well-known to Westerners will be Dengue Fever, performing at the FCC Angkor on Wednesday evening. But there are plenty of other big names as well, including Cambodian hip hop superstar Sreyleak, who will perform at the closing show at the Old Stadium on Saturday evening. 

Croft is expecting an audience up to 10,000 for the final show, a six-hour showcase of the talents of Khmer Surin superstar Khong Khoy, Heng Pitu, Kong Nay, Grammy-award winning guitarist Amund Maruud and plenty more. 

Among the performers that evening, Siem Reap-based New Cambodian Artists will give two dance performances, one of them for the first time in public, and the other created especially for the festival.

NCA director Bob Ruijzendaal said the dancers were thrilled when they were invited to join the concert. “It’s not really in our system yet. Maybe it’s better that way or we might get too nervous.” 

He’s also very excited about what the festival means for Siem Reap’s cultural scene in general. “I can’t describe how important this is,” he said.

The festival is a collaboration between Road 60 Studios and Bambu Stage, a dance, theatre and production company based in Siem Reap with a long history of event management in venues all over the world.

Road 60 Studios was created by Croft in 2014, and has since gone on to become one of Cambodia’s premier recording studios. All of the events except the Dengue Fever gig are free.
For a full lineup and program head to chubmet.com.

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