Cambodians. Love. To. Dance.
Whether its live music, a karaoke club, or an iPod sitting at the bar, Cambodians love their music. When I first arrived in town, we went to see the Kampot Playboys at Rusty 2, and joined their ‘finale’ of sorts at Bodhi Villa later that night. The fusion of Western and Cambodian rock & roll brought everyone back to the 80s.
Just recently, we celebrated a week full of birthdays. This of course meant another week full of music. At Kunthear’s house, a full bottle of red wine and dozens of spring rolls were followed by a few struggles with the karaoke machine until the blaring sound of scratchy Khmer music successfully emerged from the television. A few days later, Immi celebrated her 4th birthday with friends and family at Bodhi Villa and this ended in a dance party and “freeze” game followed by a tired 4 year old’s nap on my lap in the middle of the guesthouse. Just a few more days after that, Hanna insisted on doing nothing for her birthday so of course we surprised her with a dinner party of homemade sushi, red wine, cake, and plenty of Mumford & Sons on the radio. Surrounded by friends, family, and good music was the only way to celebrate all three birthdays.
But music is not just for birthdays in Cambodia. This past weekend, I put on my best hippie 60s outfit, followed some friends to the Khmer Beauty Salon and trusted their advice to make our hair “ton” (big), and showed up at Lightbox. The public art venue was hosting the Cambodian Space Project concert, selling trifles and pineapple upside down cakes from the local bakery, and pouring rum pineapple fizzes. We shouted “sok sabay sok sabay” to our favorite song and danced all the way back to a 60s era Kampot.
Despite being a bunch of “barangs” (white girls), we put 3 on a moto and cruised all around town singing loudly to the Khmer songs that get this town so jazzed up.
Photo credit: Lightbox