Classic Cambodian Rock to Feature in Berlin Mini-Festival

The show presented under the big top of the performing arts organization Phare Ponleu Selpak in Siem Reap City this week is a preview of a Cambodian mini-festival that will be held in Berlin and in Bergen, Norway, in January.

The performance “Staging Cambodia: Video, Memory and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” will feature an eclectic mix of artists and a unique backdrop.

This photo featuring singer Kak Chanthy, known as Srey Thy, is part of filmmaker Marc Eberle's montage on the theme "Galaxy Khmer," which will serve as a backdrop during the Cambodian Space Project shows in Siem Reap and Europe. (Marc Eberle)
This photo featuring singer Kak Chanthy, known as Srey Thy, is part of filmmaker Marc Eberle’s montage on the theme “Galaxy Khmer,” which will serve as a backdrop during the Cambodian Space Project shows in Siem Reap and Europe. (Marc Eberle)

The concert part of the festival on Friday and Saturday will feature the local band Cambodian Space Project, which specializes in 1960s Khmer rock; three Khmer traditional musicians; two Khmer classical dancers from the Royal University of Fine Arts; and one dancer of the Madison line dance that Cambodians still love to perform at weddings and parties.

A film montage of science fiction-style animation and footage from 1960s Cambodia by German filmmaker Marc Eberle, themed “Galaxy Khmer,” will be projected behind the artists as they perform.

When the show moves to Berlin in January there will also be photos by artist Khvay Samnang projected on the large windows of the Hebbel am Ufer theater for people both on the street and inside the theater to see.

Mr. Samnang’s installation “Newspapermen” will also be on display inside the theater.

Belgian stage director Michael Laub, the show’s artistic director, said the three-center show and its themes are “totally a subjective choice.”

“By no means is this an attempt to reflect Cambodia. It’s an attempt to show what I saw that I like in Cambodia,” he said.

Annemie Vanackere, artistic and managing director of the Hebbel am Ufer theater, said that Mr. Laub is known as an avant-garde director and choreographer in Europe.

“Michael is not compromising on his aesthetic demands,” Ms. Vanackere said.

“He takes it seriously whether it’s amateurs or professionals, Cambodians or Berliners, and this is something that I think is very strong in his work,” she said.

The “Memory” part of the festival will include Mr. Laub’s “Portrait Series Battambang,” a video in which he asked people from Battambang to speak about their lives.

The show will be held from January 16 through 19 in Berlin and January 23 and 24 in Bergen.

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