after the acronym for the Siem Reap International Airport For many, an airport is considered a place of hassles, delays and general annoyances. But for Song Seng, the director of Cambodian Living Arts’ a three-day music festival beginning today that has brought traditional musicians from around the region to Temple Town.Heritage Hub, it’s where cultures converge. Hence the name REPfest.
, including CLA’s Heritage Hub inside of Wat Bo, Sala Thoam Chas and Krousar Thmey. Performing will be a shadow theatre troupe from Laos, Japanese flutist Kohei Nishikawa, the group Law Ka Nat from the Anyar region of Myanmar and Vietnamese ensemble Đông Kinh Cổ Nhạc, among other artists. There will also be two newly-formed groups playing from Cambodia – all-female drumming collective Medha and the group Yaksao.The festival features three days of public performances and workshops at three venues in Siem Reap.
According to Phan Chamroeun, the leader of the seven-piece Yaksao, the group formed just five months ago, and this will be its second time performing. they experiment with new forms and compositions. Medha and Both Yaksao emerged from workshops organised earlier this year by CLA . fitting with the theme of the festival, They have backgrounds in traditional music but,
but with the resources they gain from their ancestors, their masters,” CLA’s Seng said. we can see that young people and young artists want to move on with their own identity,Especially these few years,
Especially confident in their own identity is Medha, which means “resourceful woman” in Khmer. Drumming in Cambodia has typically been a male domain, but Sang Sreypich, 26, and her team are challenging that notion.
“Before we never knew if women could play the drum instrument,“ she said. “My teachers said women can’t play the drums because when they hit them it is very painful on the hand, and women don’t have enough energy.”
the group practised with one instructor to learn the basics of drumming. CLA then commissioned them later on to create more work from what they had learned.During an artist residency,
” Seng said.“The quality is just ‘wow’,
So far the group has put together three compositions, which include some singing and chanting, Sreypich said, is to convey the message “there is no division between man and woman”.
“We want to encourage and break through the challenges.”