Khmer Mohori (CAMBODIA)
October 18, 2009, 2:48 pm
Filed under: Cambodia

Here’s a beautiful record of mohori music from Cambodia. Mohori is a traditional Khmer ensemble, but the name also refers to the repertoire. There are different size ensembles, with different combinations of instruments consisting of flutes, fiddles, xylophones and percussion.
On this recording we hear khloy (flute), khimm (hammered dulcimer), tror so and tror ou (Different pitched 2 string fiddles), jakae (crocodile zither) and more
The label says kreung ksai, meaning string ensemble. The name Sak Som Peo on the right is most likely the name of the group or school.
The name of the song is Pleng Boran, meaning “Music from the Past”, which turns out to be more true than the musicians who recorded this in the 1940s could have guessed, songs like this disappeared with the many musicians who were brutally murdered by the Khmer Rouge.

>Columbia GF684 A


Special thanks to Prof. Terry Miller (again) and Bee, a great Khmer musician. Here are his youtube performances.


9 Comments so far
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Yes! Exceptionally rare, and as fine as fine can be.

Comment by JW

thanks for tuning in JW!

Comment by HAJI MAJI

Beautiful record. Thanks.

Comment by gracenotes

this is really great.. i wonder what instrument it is that leads off here; sounds almost precisely like an accordion!

Comment by peter

Thanks Peter, my feeling is that it’s a Khene which was used in some Khmer music…but so far my knowledgeable sources have come up empty. There are several other reed instruments from the area, but they are not usually part of the Mohori ensemble, and I don’t know what they sound like!

Comment by HAJI MAJI

oh wow, i just flipped open the garland encyclopedia of southeast asian music, and found the following: “with the introduction of western culture to cambodia, a hybrid ensemble and repetoire, known as modern mohori (mohori samai) emerged. this ensemble… is a mixture of khmer and western instruments – khloy, chhing, thaun-rumanea, violin, guitar, keyboard and accordion“! i guess it very might be!

Comment by peter

hmm, that’s weird. On page 119 it says “mohori samai use only modern instruments…”.
We’ll see…

Comment by HAJI MAJI

ah strange! check out pgs 184-5!

Comment by peter

ah yeah, i found the passage you mean! (except it’s pg. 175 in mine.. we must have different editions) that is quite odd, to have a contradiction like that a couple pages apart! of course it seems like the modern ensemble might be less rigid in it’s make-up (i.e. they use whichever instruments they feel)

Comment by peter

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