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'Dengue Fever' Highlighted in New Film


Many of Cambodia's emerging rock musicians were killed by the Khmer Rouge, but their music has been carried forward by the band Dengue Fever. The rise of that band, and the capturing of Cambodia's 1960s, are now highlighted in the film, "Sleep Walking Through the Mekong."

In the past, singers like Ros Serey Sothea, Pen Ron and Sin Sisamoth sang most of the Cambodian rock songs. Now Cambodian-American singer Chhom Nimol and Dengue Fever have picked up where they left off.

The documentary, produced by John Pirozzi, seeks to catalogue the emergence the band, which incorporates elements of American rock instruments and Khmer lyrics in a unique psychedelic sound.

The film was a product of another product, Pirozzi told VOA Khmer, called "Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll." As a camera operator in Cambodia in 2001, during the making of the film "City of Ghosts," Pirozzi discovered Cambodian rock.

"I thought it could be such an amazing story," he said, adding that he hoped to use proceeds from the film to help support Cambodian artist associations.

Meanwhile, Chhom Nimol, lead singer for Dengue Fever, said she was excited to see old songs resurrected.

"I am so happy that it makes our Khmer people to know clearly about Khmer rock-and-roll songs, and I am especially happy to make the world recognize the value of Khmer artists, resurrected by Dengue Fever," she said. "I am so thankful for the filmmaker who produced our band's documentary. I think it is so important for the world to learn about Khmer songs and the band."

A long-term famous singer, Chhom Chhovin, a sister of Chhom Nimol, called the film amazing, while Ieng Sithul, president of the Khmer Artist association, said he was proud of a band promoting old Khmer songs.

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