Music, Songs of Khmer Rouge, NUFK From Sweden

Posted by khmernews on February 7, 2008

Phnom Penh: During his visit to Sweden in Europe on November 20-21, Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), was given 2 packages of gift from a Swede Gunna Bergstrom, who is a former member in Swedish-Cambodian Friendship Association during the Democratic Kampuchea regime  and who was Pol Pot’s dinner guest. The gift includes Kampuchea’s popular songs and the revolutionary songs of the National United Front of Kampuchea (NUFK). Those music and songs were originally recorded in cassettes but were then compiled into discs in 1980 in Stockholm, Sweden. At the time [Sweden] was supporting Democratic Kampuchea in term of its struggling for country and people liberation.
In the disc entitled “Music From Kampuchea” (the cover was written in Swedish and English), there are 14 songs. In part A there are (1) Pat Chheay, (2) Kon Seng Krahom (red scarf), (3) Smoung, (4) Sompoung, (5) Bot Bompey, (6) Bek Chan, and (7) revolutionary Kampuchea troop victory song. In part B there are (1) Patriotism of our farmers, (2) Som Bon (Request for Bon), (3) Farmers are planting in lowland regions, (4) Song of rowers, (5) Sunset, (6) Boat leaving away, and (7) Democratic Kampuchea national anthem.

The songs of NUFK (the cover was written in French) are divided into two parts, and the translated scripts are written down on the cover. There are two songs in the first part, (1) Red Revolutionary Flag and (2) Uniting Around National United Front of Kampuchea. There are also two songs in the second part, (1) The Bravery of People Army of National Liberation of Kampuchea and (2) Khong Chhlob (the spies).

In the note, the Swedish producers of the Music From Cambodia remind the importance of the music in the national cultural heritage and states that the new recording was made in summer in 1978. To say, it was made when the Sweden-Cambodian Friendship Association delegation visited Democratic Kampuchea to honor the revolution for the national liberation and independence against foreign invaders on Cambodian people.

At the end of the meanings of the four NUFK’s songs are about informing all Cambodians about Cambodia which is successful, independent, neutral, democratic and fully territorial.

Khmer Rouge composed a lot of music and songs during their secret struggling movement in the 1950s-60s, which then became an open fighting movement between 1970 and 1975.

Most of the music and songs are tended to classical popular features. The meanings of those songs are for poor people (proletarian), Cambodian peasants, and struggling soldiers. The music and songs describing the countryside are of importance for farmers and workers. Those meanings seem to stimulate all people’s spirit to be patriotic and to sacrifice their lives for the good of the nation.

There are thousands of songs. Documentation Center of Cambodia has kept hundreds of them.

Nhem En, Oddur Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng deputy district governor and former photographer during Khmer Rough heyday, claimed that he has got around one thousand songs, both old and new ones. Those Khmer Rouge’s music and songs influenced cadres and soldiers greatly and contributed to the death of million Cambodians during the “Killing Fields” regime of Democratic Kampuchea.

Unofficial translation
-Exacted from Resmei Kampuchea. Vol. 15, # 4464, Sunday-Monday 16-17 December 2007.


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