aving small music players or cell phones with headset inserted into ears while walking on the street and doing other tasks has become a common habit for most youngsters. Social and stylish, not only one or two performers are obsessed with listening to music; thousands of people growing up with modern technology are finding ways to relax and be joyful through music.
Music has become a part of life which shapes the feelings of the listeners through its content and meaning. Recently, part of a project recording documents about music, a music magazine was created by a group of university students, containing the profiles of many talented Cambodian singers in 1960s and 1970s, plus some musicians and composers.
In Cambodian history, music appeared a long time ago without any clear record. However, its form has transformed from time to time with Khmer originality plus outsiders’ influences.
Based on music magazines, the boom era of Cambodian music was seen in the period of 1960s and 1970, after Cambodia received independence from France in 1953. Most songs were composed with western-style pop music influences which attracted curious Cambodians.
During the 1960s and 1970s, music was strongly supported by Cambodians, and most talented singers and musicians came up with talented works. It helped to rouse Cambodians’ interests in the meaning and themes of song and music. Most of the songs were composed to describe the nature of scenery, added with concepts of men and women.
Presently, music also performs as a common tool for people to relax. Most songs are composed with romantic feelings of love to attract the youth. There are presently many talented singers, musicians, composers and modern equipment, but they can’t block the people from remembering and admiring the old songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Most Cambodians believe that present-day singers and musicians can’t compare with the singers and musicians during 1960s and 1970s who were full of talents in singing and composing music.
Contemporary music is likely to lose the identity of Khmer since most music is copied from other countries and replaced with new lyrics. Copyright has no power since most song and music productions are reformed with other music and new lyrics added. This activity is degrading the value of Cambodian music and makes people to turn to the other forms of music such as western, Korean, Chinese, and Thai music.
Some youths wonder, if the future is to copy from others, what will be the future of Cambodian music?