After Cambodian Head of State Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown in 1970, he took up residence in Beijing, China and Pyongyang, North Korea.

I’ve always wondered what Sihanouk did in those places, and now I know. . . He composed music!


In 2004, Sihanouk, who was then the king of Cambodia, donated some of his writings, videos and music to Monash University Library in Australia.

Some of these materials have now been digitized, and a librarian at Monash has published an article on these materials (Aline Scott-Maxwell, “Royal Songs and Royal Singing: Music in the Norodom Sihanouk Archival Collection, Monash University Library,” Fontes Artis Musicae Vol. 55, No. 1 (2008), 180-190).


Among the videos and documents in this archival collection are some booklets that contain sheet music of some of Sihanouk’s compositions. One is entitled “Korea and Cambodia Are Revolutionary Comrades-in-Arms.”

A “re-creation” of this piece and the lyrics follow:

Far as the distance is from Korea to Khmer,

We are together in the common

anti-imperialist front.

Our friendship has grown stronger

In the course of smashing the Yankees.


Khmers’ success is Koreans’,

Koreans’ triumph is the very laurel to you.

Let’s demonstrate our united strength

On our way of revolution helping

And guiding each other.


Righteous is our common cause

Crushing the enemies’ aggression.

Let’s hasten the final victory

As we fortify our front of anti-imperialism.


Korea and Khmer are revolutionary


Let’s march on side by side forever.