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‘Messenger Band’ Sings for the Voiceless

The Messenger Band, a group of female singers who speak of living conditions for many of Cambodia’s socially sidelined groups, is gaining in popularity, as Cambodians face high inflation and tough working conditions, even in a growing economy.

“There are a lot of problems that women as workers are facing, but they cannot speak out,” explained Vun Em, the band’s coordinator, as a guest on “Hello VOA.” “These songs come from the workers’ hearts, to tell the public what problems the workers have.”

The band, comprised of factory workers and initiated by the Womyn's Agenda for Change, has released one CD and performed in Hong Kong during a World Trade Organization meeting. The group calls itself “the first all female protest song folk singers in the history of Cambodia.”

Inspiration for their songs, which range from topics such as globalization, factories, drug abuse, domestic violence, and prostitution, come from speaking to people to “know the real situation,” Vun Em said.

Kun Sotheary, a member of the band who was also a guest on “Hello VOA,” said the two volumes of songs the band has produced were composed by workers from many different places, while the next songs will be composed by band members themselves.

“We will go to many places and continue to work with workers,” she said. “We are workers too.”