Cambodia War Survivors Turn to Music

One of our guests who recently used Savuth’s tuk tuk services left a comment on our website about her experiences in Cambodia. Among the other things she mentioned, she was touched by the Khmer music groups made up of land mine survivors that you will see at some of the temples. She wrote, “The courage of the landmine victims, who as musicians played at various venues, was just outstanding – true heroes.”

Coincidentally the Associated Press ran an article yesterday about these musicians entitled, “Cambodia War Survivors Turn to Music”:

“By the walls of ancient temples, just as the morning sun dapples the jungle floor and birds sing, survivors of Cambodia’s killing fields and minefields drop their crutches, put aside their artificial limbs or blindly grope for their instruments — and then play music that can break the heart. A tentative, mournful melody floats from a two-stringed “tro” bowed by Kak Vy, whose right leg is gone. He is joined by a zither plucked by Khieu Sarath, who lost his parents and sisters to Khmer Rouge murderers and whose mine-shattered leg was amputated without morphine. Phun Ath, blinded by a rocket, taps a drum softly. Now, the first tourists arrive at the wondrous temples of Angkor, and the 20 musicians — amputees, blind, scarred, all destitute — hope that by dusk their playing will have earned them enough to sustain their families for another day. Together, they support more than 100 children and wives…”

The article continues with some personal stories from these musicians and additional background and history. It is well worth a read.

On our Youtube channel you can also find a few short videos I made of several of these groups.

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out Savuth’s tuk tuk services!)

~ by Leonard on April 13, 2009.

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