Monday, January 23, 2012
Evolution of a song
"Chnam Oun Dap Pram Muy (I'm 16 Years Old)" is a revered piece of culture in Cambodia. It's an iconic song of Ros Sereysothea, a beloved Cambodian rock star of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The audio quality of the recording is not great, but it is all that's left as she died under the Khmer Rouge.
However, despite the abrupt end to her life and career (and the fledgling Khmer cultural renaissance after independence), the song is alive and thriving.
Newer karaoke covers are popular among Cambodians and members of the Khmer diaspora. But what I find fascinating are some of the more modern deconstructions of this class rock song.
It's a shaky phone video, but it illustrates the energy of a Dengue Fever performance. Chhom Nimol was a singer in Cambodia and now fronts the otherwise American band. (You can buy their music at the band's website or at Amazon.)
Laura Mam's acoustic version is excellent (skip ahead to 2:26 past the chatty bit).
My favorite may be Bochan's cover — not least because it's also the theme song for the Khmerican podcast. (You can buy her music on Facebook or on Amazon.)
And to go even farther down the Judge Rabbit hole, the album Chnam Oun 16 includes seven remixes of Bochan's version.