Singer-composer Bosba Panh to research Cambodian ensemble

Singer-composer Bosba Panh to research Cambodian ensemble



most of our bunny began singing when she was seven she began composing as a teenager mixing classical Cambodian and Western music and now as an adult at 8:22 her interest shifts to understanding the Cambodian music through academic research most of our dedication to the Arts from a very young age makes her one of the key Cambodian artists who embodies both the theories and physical expressions of creativity in June as a recent graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music most of our dropped by The Voice of America to talk about the creative adventure that is an honest life and her relentless effort to understand Cambodia through its arts [Applause] by subdiver Tsubasa bad stop somebody that's my so first of all big congrats on graduation from one of the top music school in the u.s. New England Conservatory thank you thank you so much yeah so you brought your cape here okay so this one is my high school graduation cape that's in France actually no it was at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick Massachusetts so about 40 45 minutes away from Boston alright so you know I was I was pretty excited to go to any see you know yeah I was like a running joke from like you know my friends like they kept saying info so every time like you laugh you know we keep seeing you know like your face on a sunflower and this is well the other one is after AG like when I graduated from NEC which you know it's a little bit more funny but you know because we it was a pretty stressful for for you know all of the graduates so you know I I thought about doing something funny funny so it's so it's a it's Bachelor of music from a New England Conservatory yes my first question is what it's like studying at one of the top music school in the u.s. like that well I mean I really like my time at NEC part of it you know this because you know you meet a lot of people who are who look like you but also you know who perform at the highest level especially for a composer that's we great because you get really good performers to play your music you relate to each other much better also because it's only it's only a music school so everybody does music everybody does the same thing everybody wants the same thing you're also you know that Boston is a very intellectual city so you know you have hardware you have MIT you have Tufts so everybody is like very you know at the top of what they do in their profession but you also you know everybody is like very chill and very down to earth because it's not we don't have the rush of New York City Boston I think it's much more of a sporty City it's much more of a home city for a lot of us and I also think you know like NEC for me like really prepared me for with you know very flexible skills then you know it really prepares you for the job market then we have now we yep I got this better from NEC yeah you are on the cover of their poster or banner about composition tell us about a bit about this well so I was asked to do you know pictures when DC and I knew it was really choose you then well I'm I don't know baby because you know I look like a composer I'm at a piano I look very like you know focus and like what I'm doing you must have done something right that's why they chose you know maybe it's just my face yeah but I like that you know they chose a cambodian TV you know their face they probably know your background at a bit as a singers in a very young age so that that's my next question so you've been singing your whole life's in like five six years old in cambodia in other countries in music festival actually here with other major artists like francis prolonged carol and all these famous people and you are in all these event doing concert and uncle water and all that but in college you choose to go to composition which is writing original music yeah why I mean for me you know it's like I grew up my like you know my whole childhood I was you know a singer I was doing career music but I was also you know followed by a lot of the media so it was very tiring for me like you know to always be on top of everything and I got to a point where I felt more comfortable expressing myself through composition I also you know developing interest in research especially on research about Cambodian music and I felt that as a composer it was easier to bridge that interest between research about Cambodian music and writing music that was either you know inspired by Cambodia or [Applause] now you kind of move away from singing but moving way to writing musics a composing music is that the plan for the future I think it's like well I have a hard time you know telling people that I'm moving away from singing because I achieve composed mostly for voice so for me you know it's I feel that I'm always in the vocal path but I've just suggested the way I express myself so instead of seeing myself you know I'm I write music for other people to say or I write music for other people to express Who I am I think it's also you know you did you need a lot of introspection towards how you want things to be expressed we are going to dive deep into the process of composing and music from scratch but I want to go back to your route a little bit you've been an artist your whole life singer or composer now why is it in your family are you from a family of artists or something so my parents are not artists my mom you know works in policymaking and my dad used to be a journalist but they are both very intellectual they were both you know they really like trained I mean I feel like it's not really a training as in like school but you know they brought it they brought us to museums we had a lot of music at home so it felt almost very natural for me to be very artistic and I was very fortunate to have parents who did support me you know in an art career which is not always the case you know because a lot of people have misconceptions that you know being an artist isn't bring you money or it's you know it's not as prestigious as being a lawyer for example but regardless of which career you choose to go I think my parents saw that I felt the happiest in the arts so I'm very thankful that they still supported me today today I'm sure you have a great parent and they must be very proud of you oh they are alright so now we got to go into the technicality of music composition you've been writing I've checked your website I saw a lot of your music bring us the Arion me and all people to into the journey from composing a music from scratch and tell us the challenge tell us how you prepare yourself you're feeling inspiration and all that and how you stay creative so these are something that I think I myself quite interested in that process of creative that process of creativity well you know a lot of people think that you know as a composer you just you know pull something out of your hat and you start writing music but it's much more I think rational that that what people think you know we get commissions in a way that you know see an author would get you know if if you're asked to write a book about something or if you're a journalist you know you're right about the story it's the same thing with composers but we don't write you know articles we write music about the story so for me you know I get my inspiration either you know from my experience growing up in Cambodia but also you know books that I read some thumb is just commissions and you know people want something very specific so you know I have to tell her to these demands when it comes to come to composing the process of composition it's very much like a habit you know it's like going to the gym or you know taking your car to work in the morning so what I do use you guys is that I write in the morning very early party me me because I'm like half awake so it's easier you know to tap into that creative like cool so you know I just compose I just it's very easy I go to the piano I open my computer you know improvise a little bit and then I just write or working on a current project once that's done you know once you have everything that's notated you know like a journalist you have to edit edit edit then you have to like I bring in them to my lessons so my teachers and they will say oh you know this part can be like adjusted a little bit it's the same thing you know if you had a if you have a publisher and once it's done and you're ready to perform this piece there's a lot of planning that comes from the part of a composer so you have to find your musicians you have to find a rehearsal space you have to rehearse one two three more times depending on how big the pieces then you have to get to the concert you have to write program loads that are what the piece is about and then you know there's the whole business part of being a composer which is you know making sure you pay the musicians on time or you get paid on time sounds like you did enjoy doing this I don't know from being around music and when you're smokin Vietnam John I hope I pay tonight Kanaan don't get me and said I had to pay young young commenced nice and I don't mean a young mom I can yell unclear when birthing tonight now tonight and so you mentioned about your experience or your background as a Cambodian my next question is how does that influence your music composition and a component culture or the combined music industry how does it contribute to your composition I think you know I struggled a lot you know when I started composing you know with oh is this music Cambodian enough and I had one of my teachers said but you are a Cambodian so anything that you write is Cambodian you're a product of Cambodia and there and you know I realized that I mean I slowly realized that you know there are many stories as to what the Cambodian is there are many ways that we can express our identity in our culture well you know for example we all mean we often think that you know Cambodian is somebody from Cambodia but we also have Cambodians that live you know in the United States they also have a story you know that maybe is not about growing up in Cambodia but they have that component identity how little it is you know it's up for people to interpret but you can't really deny that you know this is what a Cambodian sounds like looks like the different identities and stories that make what a Cambodian is for me also you know going up in Cambodia I grew up with oral traditions so we either in music – overall traditions which is very different from the western music because there's a lot of books written about that they are conservatories where you study Western music everything is very structured was in oral tradition we don't necessarily have that structure the structure is different and for me you know because I grew up with a lack of books or you know books that are written by researchers from other countries in Cambodian music I always had questions about my own culture which then you know let me into research so right now you know I'm writing I'm going into research about Cambodian music because you know there's not a lot of scholars that come from Cambodia so I haven't like an insider view on it so now you finish a bachelor so you go into grad school graduate ready school following trying to understand to learn music 1 what kinda music what oh you have an idea of a topic yeah well I'm I think I'm going to well I am going to specialize in vocal music of Cambodia and you know ensemble singing so you know what we think of smooth whether it's like in like several groups of people or like single group of people what were the influences and what really made it so you know an identity of our culture I think you know there's also how you know in the mid twentieth century or the native half of the century when we had a Khmer Rouge genocide how did that impact you know us Cambodians out how we see how we saw a culture how we express our culture we a lot of our songs you know very like nostalgic or very sad why is that you know what are the key events what can music tell us about our history you know when we have parts of our history that were I'd have written for us or completely erased so um you mentioned about Khmer Rouge and all that and and sad music kind of sound kind of sad and all that and also on your website you said that your music like caught a border along the theme of loss and sacrifice can you explain elaborate further about these two themes and why do they choose do that but I think as Cambodians you know the loss and sacrifice is very present in our culture you know there are different ways obviously we often think about the Khmer Rouge genocide because we did lose you know a lot of our families in that we were displaced and that became a new identity of being displaced beaudion there's also sacrificed because you know we have our parents that are sacrificing you know their lives are like some of their dreams for us too follow our dreams you know there's also personal sacrifice because as immigrants or even as people back home we feel that we always have to prove ourselves so I think we are a very you know hardworking and nation because we always want to prove ourselves so there's this part of you know personal but also like nation sacrifice and as Cambodians are so thing that we are like a very proud Cambodians usually when we present our service components we are very very proud of our culture party you know because of the genocide or maybe because we're a smaller culture with and you know a world that tends to monetize and other cultures [Applause] [Applause] we talk about the kind of Cambodian music and your music classical and all these kind of Western influence music times how would you describe your music is it is it new or is it different from the Cambrian music and how is it contribute contributing to the community Cambodian music industry general well I am still me I'm still my formative years you know I went to a school in the United States that's in the West I had to learn because it was asked for me to learn about the canons of western music so obviously that's reflected you know in my music but now that I'm done with like this first chapter of school I feel I have more time to actually through a research also do you know like really see how can I bring more of my identity in this music rather than oh this is this was a school assignment and it needs to sound like this composer that we learn in class and it has to like follow certain rules but now that I have more freedom I think you know I can't write music that is workable young per se you know when we say about you know contributing to Cambodian music it's also you know yes whatever I'm going to write is component because I am Cambodian but as to contributing to Cambodian music well wait we already have you know artists back in Cambodia or in the United States or anywhere in the world that are contributing to Cambodian music is it as famous as you know another artist maybe not but we have to recognize that these or like some of the stories that we see in our community and also through research for me that's really how I see myself contributing the most to Cambodian music do you think that you are bringing you thing to to Cambodia like new kind of music well maybe it's the composition yes because you know that's new music you know it's fresh its new for research maybe I don't think it's bringing new things but bringing to the surface what we don't see about our culture or that we tend to ignore or simply nobody is looking to it and right now in overall this might be a stereotypical comments but and the Cambodian audience they seem to have a particular taste of music how do you think they respond to your music when you compose for them later well I mean everybody is entitled to you know what they like to listen you know I'm not gonna tell you hey you can't listen to this artist because you know it makes you a bad person you know the music is meant to be enjoyed it's not yes you know a lot of people art has kind of become this the neat thing well you know if you want to enjoy music or if you want to enjoy all you have to be very you know a lead you have to go to educate to educate it correctly correct but I don't think that was the point of art in the beginning art was really no away for people for humans to express themselves and it really should be that way you know if you're alright your art should be should touch people you know with regardless of who they are where they come from alright sounds great so this is a little bit about your creativity how do you stay creative how you keep yourself creative I don't compose in a stomach a lot of my friends do but I don't compose the summer because I think that you know creativity if you want to be creative or if you want to have ideas you need to have a life I mean you know I mean like you know like a lot of people think that you know writers whether your music or words you know we are just a you know in our room we lock the one we just like work all the day all day but yes there's a part of it but you know if you sustain that lifestyle and you kind of run out of ideas so you know I I really enjoy gardening I really enjoy traveling reading books see new things seeing new things going to the museum and also like you know meeting new people because that's how you know you get to have like experience I think you have to friendship or you know even with your family is going out you know that those are like sorceress of inspiration being creative is important you bring new things to the countries and all that and you are certainly one of the people in creative people in Cambodia my last question is as an artist as a creative person what do you think is your responsibility for your country I think it one is a good question so I took a class at the beginning of my senior and you know one of the what we were studying was music of the 20th century and our teacher asked us why do you think this is going to contribute to you or the world like how do you feel but why do you think this is an important transfer you and you know when we did the rounds and we eventually got to me I said you know well it kind of is a civil like civic responsibility to inform yourself correctly you know and you know make your own opinions about certain music so I think you know for when it comes to my career the way I see it is that there are several ways you know you can contribute you know to like the betterment of society whether it's to music to policymaking research research for example or you know even like being a journalist because you're the one that's telling people information but regardless of what you do you always have to check yourself you always have to check your priveledge you have to check you know if your information is correct you have to humble yourself because you know if you are wrong you have to be willing to accept that you're wrong and then grow from them grow from it Thank You boss ba this is very philosophical and appreciated your efforts in bringing creativity to the country and contribute in a positive way thank you so much and congratulations again on the graduation and I hope you have a successful journey ahead of you thank you thank you thank you so much to Blair

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