Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Master in the making

Nhok Sinat performing on the classical musical instrument, the tro khmer
Tonight, I watched a confident young man playing a very classical musical instrument with consummate ease and composure and can see why Charley Todd feels that Nhok Sinat is a master musician of the future. Charley is the co-president of the Cambodian Living Arts organization and Sinat is one of their star students. Learning the traditional art form of how to play and master the tro khmer and khsae diev instruments from Cambodia's two surviving masters under the patronage of CLA, Sinat is a born natural and is destined to become as good if not better than his teachers. For tonights' performance at Meta House, he chose to play the tro khmer, a three-stringed fiddle best known for its plaintive sound at weddings and spirit ceremonies, and a whistle-flute. The typically Khmer sound he produced, sad and sentimental to my untrained western ear, is rarely heard these days because the musicians who know how to play it are scarce and growing old, so it was great to see a 22 year old fulfil his promise with aplomb. A former pagoda boy at Wat Bo in Siem Reap, Sinat's story is one that CLA are seeking to emulate amongst their 300 students as they seek to revive Cambodia's traditional art forms. Link: CLA.
Nhok Sinat, a master musician in the making

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