- 13 Mar 14
Cambodia's secret rock n roll history is the subject of a superb new documentary
Caught In The Net had to pay $256 in excess baggage fees coming back from Cambodia last year, but cared not one jot because what was weighing us down was a treasure trove of old vinyl by the Khmer garage bands who in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s started rivalling the likes of the Stones, Beatles and Doors for popularity in their homeland.
The by turns joyous and tragic tale of their youthful endeavours is told in Don’t Think We’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock & Roll.
“Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping America, England and France, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music,” reads the blurb. “But as Cambodian society – young creative musicians in particular – embraced western culture and flourished under its influence, the rest of the country was rapidly moving to war.
“After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began wiping out all traces of modernity and Western influence. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were specifically and systematically targeted and eliminated. Thus began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing an estimated two million people – a quarter of the Cambodian population.”
A labour of Boys Don’t Cry photographer John Pirozzi’s love, the documentary is currently doing the film festival rounds with CIN keeping everything crossed for an Irish screening. Watch the trailer on YouTube.
Offering a modern take on those seriously exotic retro sounds are the boys and girls from cambodianspaceproject.com.
Also giving us an opportunity to gaze at our computer rather than do real work is And We Made The Room Shine, François Clos and Thomas Lallier’s documentary about Constellation, an experimental Canadian label that celebrated its 15th birthday by taking its roster on a jolly to Vienna.
For all of the inevitable noodling and chin-stroking, the sheer joi de musical vivre does indeed shine through, and makes you wish you were in the middle of the “that’s a wrap, everyone!” bear hug.
Which just leaves time for quick visits to terrycavanaghgames.com/maverickbird (gaming methadone to ease the Flappy Bird withdrawal); billhicks.com (tribute site to the great man maintained by his family and Sam Kinison); and youtube.com(highly chucklesome Lego Movie ‘bloopers clip’).