Ros Sereysothea: Old Sour And Sweet
Here is a rare song of 1972 by one of Cambodia's greatest singers.
Ros Sereysothea was a Cambodian singer-songwriter in the 1960's and 70's. She was part of a thriving pop music scene in Cambodia, music that was influenced by rhythm and blues and rock and roll. She was a frequent singing partner with Sinn Sisamouth, Cambodia's top male singer of the era. Born Ros Sothea in Battambang Province, her family was poor and made a living by performing Khmer traditional music. Singing duets with her brother, Serey, the Serey-Sothea pair became quite well known and went to the capital Phnom Penh, where they found work performing in clubs. With her bell-like singing voice and diva-like qualities, Ros became a solo artist, changing her name to Ros Sereysothea. Her high, clear voice, coupled with the rock backing bands made for an intense, haunting sound that is best described today as psychedelic rock. In addition to her abilities as a performer, she was a prolific songwriter, composing hundreds of songs. Sothea would often take popular Western rock tunes, such as John Fogerty's "Proud Mary" for example, and refashion them with Khmer lyrics. She was honored by King Norodom Sihanouk with the royal title, "Preah Rheich Teany Somlang Meas", the "Golden Voice of the Royal Capital". This songbird's career was cut short with the takeover by the Khmers Rouges in April 1975. With the cultural upheaval by the Khmer Rouge, scant evidence of Ros Sereysothea's life and the Cambodian rock and roll scene remain. However, many recordings have survived and have started to gain exposure through reissues on cassette and CD. Songs by Sothea, Sinn Sisamouth and other Cambodian singers of the era are featured on the soundtrack to Matt Dillon's film "City of Ghosts". Enjoy this exotic trip!