An American Twist on a Cambodian Classic

For the Voice of America, from Oakland, Ca.

(Music video and recording footage courtesy Bochan Huy.)

More and more Cambodian-Americans are finding their own voice in art and music. Add to that list singer-songwriter Bochan Huy, who grew up in Oakland, California, and has just released her first album, Full Monday Moon.

Huy is putting an American twist on a Cambodian classic. The original song, “I Am 16,” comes from the heyday of Cambodian rock-the 1960s and 1970s, before the Khmer Rouge.

Huy’s version, though, is something entirely new.

“I kind of describe ‘Chnam Oun 16’ as sort of like a new culture. It’s a melting pot of everything that I’ve absorbed: from living in Oakland, from being Cambodian, and from being American. It’s Cambodian-American,” Huy says.

The song comes from her first album, Full Monday Moon, which she has just completed. Huy says she wrote the album after the death of her father, a refugee and a musician who loved the classics.

“I decided to do the album because I realized after he passed away – he was a big musical mentor in my whole life – that the only way that I felt that he was still around was to do music,” Huy says.  “That was something the Khmer Rouge did not take away from him. He was able to bring that from Cambodia to here.”

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One thought on “An American Twist on a Cambodian Classic

  1. Very nice piece, Brian. I really like your writing style. Hope all is well with you. I ought to be back in Cambodia visiting Nancy sometime late in the year or early 2013. Will you be back that way then? Would be great to catch up.

    Cheers, Brendan

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