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Cambodian Musician Honors Traditional Music - 2003-06-10

Listen to the music of 70-year old Bun Loeung who recently won an international music competition that featured contestants from over 40 countries in this enchanting three part series.

About his CD, Light From Heaven

Cambodian Mahaori music dating from the Angkor Period - some recorded here for the first time.

This genre of music was almost completely wiped out during Pol Pot's purge of Cambodian classical musicians and dancers. Fortunately, the music has been passed down orally for centuries and has survived in people's memories, ready to blossom again.

Mahaori music is characterized by a floating quality that brings a sense of energizing peace to the listener. One can feel the complexity of the tropical jungle in the intertwining instrumental lines. It has the perfect balance of emotional intensity and equanimity.

An unexpected benefit of the Cambodian diaspora is this collaboration between Cambodian masters and western classically-trained musicians.

The group Rak-Smey Khemera (Light From Heaven Falls On the People of Cambodia) has been performing and touring all over the United States since 1986, bringing traditional Cambodian music to Cambodian and western audiences alike.

The founder and artistic director, Bun Loeung, is known throughout the world as a legendary luminary of all genres of Cambodian music. He has played in every conceivable venue - from the streets of Battambang, opium dens, directing the National Theatre, to performing with the Minnesota Orchestra.

His recording "Cambodian Music in Minnesota" was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the best recordings of American Folk life. His 1987 recording, "The New International Trio" (Atomic Theory Records) with Dick Hensold and Barb Weiss won a Minnesota Music Award. Winner of the Just Plain Folks Best Ethnic/World Album 2002.

(Above information from Album and