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The Like Me’s Strike a Chord in Cambodia

The Like Me's band.
The Like Me's band.

Laura Mam and her band, The Like Me’s, are a new group that is fast gaining popularity in the US. The band is on a quick tour of Cambodia that ends with a free show Saturday night at Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island.

Born in the US, 24-year-old Mam says she hopes her music will reach even more people in the homeland of her parents.

The local band from San Jose, Calif., plays original music as well as a cover of the 1960s hit, “Sva Roam Monkiss.”

Mam plays guitar and sings. Her Cambodian-American cousin, Helena Hong, 31, plays bass. Mam says her songs reach two generations of Cambodians and have prompted discussions between the generations about their similarities.

Mam writes and sings original songs that have proven popular with young Cambodian-Americans in search of a voice.

Mam says she hopes her music will reach more people on this Cambodian tour, but she never expected to find so many fans here already.

“I thought Cambodians didn’t know who we were, but now that we’re in Cambodia, we already have fans here,” Mam said between shows in Siem Reap recently. “They came to the stage and asked us questions. And there were journalists asking us a lot of questions. So I’m very excited, and I feel like a rock star.”

The Nov. 22 Diamond Bridge tragedy led her to write a song dedicated to the victims, called “Diamonds.” The slow ballad, in Khmer and English, compares the victims of the tragedy to diamonds that will shine forever.

Fans and new listeners can hear Laura Mam and The Like Me’s on Saturday night at 6 pm in a free concert at Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island. It will be the last show the band has in Cambodia. At least for now.