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The Music of Cambodia, Volume One: 9 Gong Gamelan
Various Artists
The Music of Cambodia, Volume One: 9 Gong Gamelan
Genres: Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

On the heels of the historic elections of May 1993 came the first release in The Music of Cambodia series. It features instruments and musical styles never before heard outside of Cambodia, and was recorded in one of th...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: The Music of Cambodia, Volume One: 9 Gong Gamelan
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Celestial Harmonies
Release Date: 11/22/1993
Genres: Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Traditional Folk, Far East & Asia, By Decade, 1990s
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 013711307429


Album Description
On the heels of the historic elections of May 1993 came the first release in The Music of Cambodia series. It features instruments and musical styles never before heard outside of Cambodia, and was recorded in one of the greatest architectural achievements in all of Asia - the legendary temple complex of Angkor Wat. The 9 gong gamelan, featured prominently in the first volume of in The Music of Cambodia, is a relative of the famous gamelan instruments of Indonesia, but is virtually unknown outside the area around Angkor Wat. Given the opportunity to record one of the world's rarest instruments inside one of the world's great architectural masterpieces, producer David Parsons found an enormous wealth of lively, traditional music in the Angkor Wat region. The first volume in in The Music of Cambodia series features four different musical styles. The pinpeat orchestra is a local version of the royal court music of the great Khmer Empire of the 9th-15th centuries. Sinuous melodies on oboe and fiddle wend their way over an intricate bed of interlocking wood and metal percussion instruments. The funeral music, featuring the rare 9 gong gamelan and its ensemble, has a restrained dignity, but is also quite spirited at times. There is also an example of solo oboe music. The oboists in Cambodia never pause for breath, having mastered the technique of playing while inhaling as well as exhaling. In addition, the folk dance music of the tribal minorities of northwestern Cambodia are included.Cambodian music is a mystery to most of the world, and the music around Angkor Wat is a mystery even to the rest of Cambodia. But it is a mystery whose beauties are easily revealed to Western ears.

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CD Reviews

Nice Recording
yingsat | Warren, MI United States | 09/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very nice CD. Tracks 1 thru 6 are pinpeat music, which is the Cambodian xylophone orchestra. The pinpeat music on this recording, however, has a more homestyle feeling than the national/royal pinpeat of the capital city, Phnom Penh. Nonetheless, it's just as festive as all pinpeat music. Tracks 7 thru 9 are Khmer funeral music, utilizing the 9-gong instrument in the CD's title. These tracks are kinda lengthy and, personally, make me sleepy. Track 10 is a sralai(Khmer oboe/shawm) solo. Tracks 11 thru 14 are music of the Samreh minority group from northwestern Cambodia. These are folksongs sometimes accompanied by drums, fiddles, and shawms(tracks 11 and 14), but the other tracks(12 and 13) are just solo voices. The songs are soulful and happy, retaining a tribal style. Overall, this is a good CD, but a little unbalanced, considering that this isn't one whole CD, but one third of a 3 CD collection...I enjoy this CD, but I would reccomend that others buy the whole box set which contains this CD."
Ancient as Angkor itself!!!
Kean Chhay Chang | Vic, Australia | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Music of Cambodia "9 Gong Gamelan" Vol. 1 gives a rare insight into some of Cambodia's rare orchestras and the more common pin-peat orchestra that was believed to have been around during the Angkorean period. The pin-peat orchestra varies from region to region in Cambodia. This orchestra was associated with court dance, shadow theatre, masked theatre and temple functions or ceremonies. It's compositions are hazy and very mystical especially the version of the pin-peat orchestra recorded here in the album. To some extent it sounds like the gamelan orchestra of Indonesia because of the gong-chimes that give it the metallic and hazy shimmer. The typical pin-peat orchestra wound comprise of two wooden xylophones, one being a lead (roneat ek) and the other with a low pitch (roneat thung), a metallophone (roneat dek), two sets of gong-chimes (khong-vong thom and khong-vong toch) that are mounted on rattan frames, two large bass drums (skor thom), barrel drum mounted on a stand (samphor), an oboe (sralay) and a few other instruments that are also featured. The rare taam ming orchestra that has never been heard outside of Seam Reap Province was just one of the album's achievements because, it's very rare to hear music outside of Cambodia. The taam ming orchestra would be performed during or at funerals. It's very different from the pin-peat orchestra because, of the ghostly and yet slow, somber compositions. Giving it that kind of sad, lonely, sorrowful and mournful atmosphere. The instrumentation in the orchestra includes, one large bass drum (skor thom), a larger gong (khong), oboe (sralay) and a nine gong instrument itself. Two tracks are accompanied by a male vocal who sings mournful songs making adding a very haunting theme to the whole composition. There is a solo oboe (sralay) performing a very beautiful composition. The last orchestra is the trott orchestra. This orchestra is unlike the two previous orchestras because, they don't have any gong instruments. The music is very tribal and brings it's that closeness to nature and atmopshere. Instead of gongs, they have a folk-fiddle (tro), folk-shawm (pey-or), drums (skors), rattles and shakers making it very exotic accompanied by male vocals, and there is also a track with an a cappella sung by a trio of male singers. This album is very mysterious like Angkor itself. All the musicians who took part in making this album are from rural background, yet their skills are very high. Recording music from Angkor is a great achievement itself. For those who want something rare and usual from what Cambodia has to offer. Then this album should be the one. Having an opportunity to listen or hear music that is beautifully recorded and mastered is very rare especially from Cambodia which had about three decades ago suffered during the war."