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date: 11 December 2019

Ngek, Chum locked

  • Alexander M. Cannon


(b Anlong Vil village, Sangker City district, Battambang Province, Cambodia; March 1953). Cambodian musician. A master musician of Cambodian traditional music, Chum began studying the music of the pinn peat (court ensemble for dances, plays, and ceremonies), mohori (court ensemble for entertainment), and phleng kar (wedding ensemble), and the instruments sralai (oboe), kong (gong circle), and sampho (two-headed drum played with the hands) with his grandfather, Hieng Um, at age ten. As a young man, he continued his studies with several master musicians, becoming proficient on many instruments, including the skor thom (two-headed drum played with wooden sticks), roneat ek (21-keyed wooden xylophone), tror (bowed fiddle), and khimm (hammered dulcimer). By age 18, he was already considered a master teacher (krou) and worked as a professional musician—employed by his home province and performing in official ceremonies. In 1974, he was selected to represent his province at a national contest and residency at the University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, he lived in Cambodia, feigning no musical ability for fear of death, and working first in rice fields and then as a hospital orderly. In ...

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