Thursday, 02 October 2014

Culture

Rare Chants, and the Fear They May Disappear

Koet Ran (right) teaches the chants to around 30 students at Cambodia Living Arts, an NGO established to foster Cambodian art forms and Trent Walker (left) is an American PhD student at the University of Berkeley, who has spent years studying this and oth
Koet Ran (right) teaches the chants to around 30 students at Cambodia Living Arts, an NGO established to foster Cambodian art forms and Trent Walker (left) is an American PhD student at the University of Berkeley, who has spent years studying this and oth
Nuch SaritaVOA Khmer

Sixty-year-old Koet Ran was born in a village in Kampong Speu province. Blinded in a farming accident in 1990, she has begun teaching students at an arts organization the tradition of “smot,” a form of Buddhist chanting.

Smot is performed at funerals, she told “Hello VOA” on Monday, “to prompt people to think about the meaning of their lives.”

“Smot is not only for funerals, but also other occasions, such as Pchum Ben, the birthday of the king or queen and other religious ceremonies,” she said.

Koet Ran teaches the chants to around 30 students at Cambodia Living Arts, an NGO established to foster Cambodian art forms.

She said a lot of people are frightened when they hear the chants and that she teaches her students their meaning and the source of that fear.

One of her students is Trent Walker, an American PhD student at the University of Berkeley, who has spent years studying this and other forms.

Walker, who also appeared on the show, said he had been going to Cambodia since 2005 to study different forms of chants, music and meditation.

On several tours, he met one teacher, Prum Ut, who passed away in 2009, as well as Koet Ran and her students at Cambodia Living Arts. He studied chanting styles and scripts in both the Pali and Khmer languages.

The teachings of the chants, he said, “remind us of the inexorable forces of change from birth to death.”

Walker has also studied musical instruments and traditions of Cambodia, as well as Pali and meditation and was ordained as a novice monk for five months.

“I’ve known Trent since about 2005, and since meeting him I’ve never stopped being impressed,” Koet Ran said. “He’s truly a dedicated student.”

During the show, both Koet Ran and Walker performed chants and music, including the song, in English, “Orpan’s Lament,” which extols the virtue of parents and the gratitude owed them by their children.

Many of the chants the two know are rarely heard anymore, and some are so difficult to learn that few can perform them.

“I fear this tradition may not last long,” Walker said. “These art forms will be lost if we do not care about them.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Foreign Minister UN Speech Touches More on World Issues, Less on Cambodiai
X
29 September 2014
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong's speech to the UN’s General Assembly on Monday in New York touches more on world issues and less on Cambodia. Before delivering his speech at UNGA, Hor Namhong told VOA Khmer that Cambodia was now enjoying peace and political stability after the two winning political parties in 2013 election had agreed to work together. His speech comes as Cambodia’s profile on the world stage has expanded in recent years. Cambodia has and improved economy and a growing participation in UN missions around the world. But Hor Namhong’s speech also comes amid deep criticism of Cambodia’s human rights record and a controversial agreement with Australia to help it resettle refuges in exchange for aid money. (VOA Khmer's Pin Sisovann, Washington)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rock the Boat (Movie: 500 Days of Summer)i
X
29 September 2014
You can say, "Things are going really well between the two of you - he's happy and you're happy, so why 'rock the boat'?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Rock the Boat (Movie: 500 Days of Summer)

You can say, "Things are going really well between the two of you - he's happy and you're happy, so why 'rock the boat'?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Get Over It (Movie: Shutter Island)

You can say, "No family is perfect, we argue, we fight. So that fight you had with your cousin last year - 'get over it'." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Make It Two (Movie: A Walk to Remember)

You can say, "Make it two, please!" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori or www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Ballpark Figure (Movie: Music and Lyrics)

You can say, "I'm going to throw a pool party this weekend, so can you give me a 'ballpark figure' of how many people are going to come?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Twist Someone's Arm (Movie: Cinderella Man)

You can say, "Every time I want my sister to clean her room, I always have to 'twist her arm' to get her to do it." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>