During the 1960s and early 1970s, the Cambodian music scene was at its most popular in the country and had a sound and feel that was unmatched up until that time. Influenced by the various music styles that had taken America and the rest of the western world by storm, musicians mixed popular songs and sounds with Cambodian melodies and traditional instruments, creating a critically acclaimed psychedelic rock culture. Cambodia was flourishing, and the country was vibrant and rich in culture.
On April 17, 1975, the music stopped, and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime began its takeover and genocide of the Cambodian people. They wanted no trace of any influence of the Western world. All educators, professionals, politicians, and anyone with an education, as well as all artists, were murdered. Those who were not murdered were separated from their families and lost everything they owned and forced into work camps.
While the war destroyed so many Cambodian people, and while much was lost, the music of the time lives on and resonates today. Please listen, learn, and celebrate some of these amazing artists whose lives and music were tragically cut short by this senseless war.