Khmer Music


Here you can learn about the various artists who where prominent in this genre.

Pan Ron

Pan Ron was a Cambodian Singer/songwriter active between 1963-1975. Well known for her variety of musical styles including rock, twist, cha cha cha, agogo, mambo, madizon, jazz and folk stylings. Not much is known about her life, except for what is reveiled through her music. She often perfomed alongside other prominent Cambodian singers, notably Sinn Sisamouth. She is thought to have survived the majority of Khmer rule, up until the Vietnamese invasion, when the Khmer Rogue launched their final series of mass executions.

Ros Serey Sothea

Sothea was titled "the golden voice of the royal capital" by the former King Norodom Sihanouk. Her prominence was derived from her hugely popular romantic ballards, although her music during the early 1970's took on a more rock & Roll styling . Born 1948 to a poor farming family, she gained popularity after performing in a talent competition. With a traumatic love life, much of Sotheas work is reflective of this, having married several times into abusive relationships.
Several accounts of her life after the Khmer take over are recorded. With her rural upbringing, Sothea was able to evade Khmer detection for until 1977. Upon discovery of her true identity she was forced to marry one of Pol Pots assistants and write songs exclusively for the party. Marred by physical abuse and overwork, it is thought the regime executed her for disputing her treatment.

Sinn Sisamouth

Perhaps the most famous of all Cambodia's singers, Sisamouth was a pioneer of modern music in the country, drawing on American and British pop to create the countries first rock & Roll tracks. Active between 1957-1975 his body of work included over 1200 songs through 158 albumns. Originaly completeing training to become nurse, Sisamouth instead pursued music with great sucess. His clear crooning voice combined with experimental style made him Cambodia's leading star thoughout his career. After the coup d'etat little is known of his life. As an educated artist with connections to the old government, Sisamouth embodied trappings of a society Pol Pot hoped to eradicate. One story of his demise is that before he was to be executed, he asked to be allowed to perform one last song. Unmoved when he finished, the firing squad killed him anyhow.

Lelu Thaert

As with many Khmer artists very little is known about Lelu, save for her name appearing on several rescued tracks. hundreds of songs that survived the regime have never been identified by their artist, making Lelu one of many who can never be credited for their work.

Eng Nary

With a similar style to Sisamouth, Eng crooned his way to prominence with upbeat songs featuring traditional wind instruments. Again, little is known about his personal life or fate.

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