Monday, May 21, 2007

Ryman Rap

Geoff Ryman is known across the globe for his science fiction novels and of course his 2006 novel about the life and legacy of Cambodia's King Jayavarman VII in The King's Last Song. Another string to his bow is his appetite and appreciation for current Khmer musical styles. And you can listen to the award-winning author on the London radio station Reasonance 104.4fm this evening at 7pm (in the UK), as he takes us on an hour-long journey through Khmer hip hop, a heady mix of South East Asian and Afro-American culture brought to Cambodia by returning refugees and featuring the music of and interviews with praCh Ly, Sok Visal, A Ping, DJ Boomer, Tony Real, and Silong. The show is called Geoff Ryman - I Let My Pen Bleed: Rap in Cambodia, and you can listen on the internet here. If you are in Cambodia, you can catch the show at 1am on Tuesday 22 May!

Following on from my recent exclusive interview with Khmer rap star praCh, you can find a lot more information about his soon-to-be-released (probably October) album, Dalama...memoirs of the invisible war, here. praCh has gathered together a collection of outstanding individuals to accompany him on this new album including Kong Nay, U Sam Oeur, Im Srey Peouv and Silong. And I'm really pleased to hear that animator and artist Bun Heang Ung will be helping out on the album sleeve design and an animated video. This is how Geoff Ryman sees it: "praCh Ly is the most authoritative voice in Khmai and Khmai-American rap. [Dalama..."memoirs of the invisible war."] not only shows his music taking on new beats and new sounds from traditional and other sources. The lyrics have a new focus on all of the Cambodian tragedy from 1970 to the present. Aware, furious, respectful, precise - this is political writing at its finest. Like Nelson Mandela had rapped when he was young."

Note: My blog was very quiet over the weekend as I was staying with friends in Birmingham. A big thank you to my hosts Nancy and Faz for taking such good care of me and feeding me til I was ready to burst.

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