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Music and its power

 During the years of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, there was no freedom of music in the country. Only revolutionary music which pushed people to work harder was allowed to be played during working hours. In today's Cambodia of 2016, music seems to have regained the power of having a positive effect on people. Some young people even say that "music is my life."

Ouk Mom, a 50-year old nurse, says she was around 10 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power. She lived in the Prey Veng province during those years.  She also remembers that "back in those days, I think the reason why they played the revolutionary songs so loud was because they wanted cover up the screams of the victims. When they played the music on the rice fields, they also wanted to entertain the workers during their hard labour."

  • "I don't like hearing those songs again"
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  • Ouk Mom
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  • "Today, that song means nothing to me"
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  • Ouk Mom
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This video gives in impression of where the music would have been played during the Khmer Rouge regime. Back in 1975-1979, people were listening to music while they were working in the rice fields. There were different songs for the different parts and provinces of the country. The purpose of playing music was to encourage people to work harder. Also, the lyrics evoke a beautiful image of the country in the future if only everybody works hard. (Special thanks to the documentary center of Cambodia for the pictures.)

Chet Kanchna, from PreyVeng province, is a 23-year old singer and songwriter who produces her own original songs. Music, she says, is a part of her daily life. Also, she is an exclusive artist at Smart Company and a member of the IAmOrginal music campaign. 

  • “I expose myself through music”
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  • Chet Kanchna
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  • "Music is like a lifeline for me"
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  • Van Chesda
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Van Chesda, 20, from Kandal, is a Cambodian R&B and pop singer who writes and composes his own music. So far he has produced several original songs. At the same time, he is known as one of the artists from the IAmOriginal music campaign. Chesda says that music is like his blood.

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