Traveling Back in Time to Jam with Ros Sereysothea

As an historian, not only do I enjoy learning about the past, but I also have a strong desire to travel back in time to visit certain places at certain times.

1960s Cambodia is one such place I would like to go back in time to visit, because I would love to be able to listen to the great musicians at that time perform, such as Sinn Sisamouth and, of course, Ros Sereysothea.

Sinn Sisamouth & Ros-Sereysothea

I was thinking about this the other day, and then it dawned on me that I can go back in time. With the use of digital audio and video tools, I realized that not only can I go back to 1960s Cambodia, but I can actually play guitar with Ros Sereysothea’s band there.

So I tuned a guitar to an old recording of Ros Sereysothea’s “Bong Srolanh Oun Ponmaan Dae” (How Much Do You Love Me), and recorded a rhythm track as well as a little bit of lead guitar.

I then made a video of me playing that music, and. . . before I knew it, I was transported back in time to 1960s Cambodia. . . (or at least to the world of the hip elite in 1960s Cambodia).

I played with the band, people danced, and we all grooved to the lovely singing of “the Golden Voice of the Royal Capital.” It was an honor!! And I also learned that in the digital age historians can finally time travel.

4 thoughts on “Traveling Back in Time to Jam with Ros Sereysothea

  1. I heard that Sinn and Ros both had tragic ends during the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. Do you know anymore about their deaths?

  2. As far as I know, the story is that Ros Sereysothea was forced to marry a Khmer Rouge, and that he then became jealous of her (somehow) and that she was killed by being beaten on the back of the head by a shovel. That is the story. I don’t think that there is any way of knowing for sure.

    As for Sinn Sisamouth, I don’t think anyone knows. I just think that people know that he died somewhere after being part of the evacuation of Phnom Penh.

    Perhaps there is more that people know, so if that knowledge exists, hopefully someone will speak up here.

  3. The folklore I heard (from a Cambodian clarinetist who resettled in Stockton, CA that I spoke to more than 20 years ago) was that the Khmer cut out the tongues of popular singers and killed them. Who knows what the facts were, but obviously things didn’t turn out well.

    1. A few years ago there was a short movie (~20 minutes) made about Ros Sereysothea’s time after the Khmer Rouge took over. People, of course, aren’t sure what exactly happened, but it presents the little bit that is believed/thought/rumored to have happened (she was recognized, forced to marry a KR soldier, and was eventually killed). It’s a good movie.

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