Global Notes: Evanston man preserves Cambodian music endangered by genocide

September 21, 2011

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(Courtesy of Elastic Cambodia)
Elastic Cambodia teaches indigenous dance and music classes in an effort to keep old traditions alive for new audiences.

On this edition of Global Notes, Jerome and Radio M host Tony Sarabia explore Cambodia's rich musical heritage. Ninety percent of the Southeast Asian nation's artists were lost in the genocide.

After a fateful visit to Phnom Penh a few years ago, Evanston resident Dan Schwarzlose decided to devote his life to Cambodia's endangered musical traditions. He's since traveled to remote regions of the country in search of masters who can teach the younger generation how to play indigenous instruments. Because Cambodian music has been traditionally taught aurally, he also uses Western notation to write down the music.

Jerome and Tony sit down with Dan, who's the founder and director of the cultural preservation organization Elastic Cambodia.

 

Watch this video featuring the khsae diev, an ancient Cambodian instrument with one string made from a hollowed-out gourd. According to Dan Schwarzlose, it’s informally known as “the instrument of the heart.”