Eyes of the Masters featuring Kong Nay

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

The Eyes of the Masters series is a special class where legendary artists share their experiences, knowledge and insights into the world of music both as an art form and as a business.

In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge had waged devastation on music, culture, and education in Cambodia, to make way for their tyrannical ideology. The shimmering 1960s era of Khmer rock’n’roll (so great!) had been all but eliminated, and almost every musician killed.

Kong Nay was spared. As the superstar of the moment, the Angkar leaders had let him keep his instrument, and his life, on the condition that he sang only songs about the greatness of the Khmer Rouge to his fellow prisoners.
Eventually they took away his chapei, separated him from his wife and children, and he joined his fellow millions in bonded labour on the rice fields, starving and destroyed – the trauma intensified by his blindness.
Now in his 60s and the formidable father of ten children, Kong Nay lives in a thronging side-pocket of Phnom Penh. Kong Nay became a CLA Master in 2003 and has now retired. He plays Chapei Dang Weng, a long neck 2-stringed guitar. This instrument is played in traditional songs as well as in improvised pieces with satirical, rhyming verses.


Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance Space, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 5th floor

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

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