Post by тσρтєиhυитєя on Feb 22, 2017 19:21:46 GMT -5
(Photo credits: khmermusic.thecoleranch.com/rossereysothea.html)
Ros Serey Sothea (Khmer: រស់ សេរីសុទ្ធា or more correctly Khmer: រស់ សិរីសុទ្ធា) (1948 – 1977) was a Cambodian singer. She was active during the final years of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum period and into the Khmer Republic period. She sang in a variety of genres; romantic ballads emerged as her most popular works. Despite a rather short career she is credited with singing hundreds of songs. She also ventured into acting, starring in a few films. Details of her life are relatively scarce. She died during Democratic Kampuchea's regime of the Khmer Rouge but circumstances of her fate remain a mystery. King Norodom Sihanouk granted Sothea the honorary title "Queen with the Golden Voice".
Ros Sothea was born in 1948 to Ros Bun (Khmer: រស់ ប៊ុន) and Nath Samien (Khmer: ណាត់ សាមៀន) in Battambang Province. Growing up relatively poor, Ros Sothea was the second youngest of five children, included her older sister, activist Ros Saboeut (Khmer: រស់ សាបឿត). She displayed vocal talent as a toddler and grew up listening to early Cambodian singers such as Mao Sareth (Khmer: ម៉ៅ សារ៉េត) and Chunn Malai (Khmer: ឈួន ម៉ាឡៃ) which doubtlessly had a profound influence.
Sothea's talent would remain relatively hidden until friends persuaded her to join a regional singing contest in 1963. After winning the contest she gained the attention and praise of the province and was invited to join Lomhae Yothea (Khmer: លំហែយោធា) (a musical troupe) which regularly performed at Stung Khiev Restaurant (Khmer: ស្ទឹងខៀវ) in Battambang. It is believed that Im Song Seurm (Khmer: អ៊ឹម សុងសឺម), a singer from the National Radio, heard of Sothea's talents and invited her to the capital, Phnom Penh, in 1967.
Music career Edit
In Phnom Penh, she adopted the alias Ros Sereysothea and became a singer for the National Radio performing duets with Im Song Seurm. Her first hit, Stung Khieu (Blue River) debuted the same year and she quickly attracted fans with her clear and high pitch voice. Eventually she became a regular partner with Sinn Sisamouth (Khmer: ស៊ិន ស៊ីសាមុត), the lead singer of the era, and they were a smashing success. She also performed with other prominent singers of the era such as Pan Ron (Khmer: ប៉ែន រ៉ន), Houy Meas (Khmer: ហួយ មាស), and Sos Mat (Khmer: សុះ ម៉ាត់).
The style of her early career is characterized by traditional Cambodian ballads and duets. She would eventually shift to a more contemporary style by combining romantic ballads drenched in loss, betrayal, and death with Western instruments. This change of style can most likely be attributed to her traumatic marriage with fellow singer, Sos Mat.
By the 1970s, American influence from neighboring South Vietnam had reached Cambodia and Sothea, along with her contemporaries, began experimenting in Western genres. Her high, clear voice, coupled with the rock backing bands featuring prominent, distortion-laden lead guitars, pumping organ and loud, driving drums, made for an intense, sometimes haunting sound that is best described today as psychedelic or garage rock. Like the leader of the music scene, Sinn Sisamouth, Sothea would often take popular Western rock tunes, such as John Fogerty's "Proud Mary" and refashion them with Khmer lyrics.
Yet romantic ballads would remain her most endearing work amongst the more conservative populace. She was often sought out by film directors to perform the duet and/or solo in their movies. Sothea's collaboration with the Cambodian film industry is invaluable in identifying over 250 films lost during the communist regime.
Sothea never sang under any one record label and made a modest living as a musician. She is recognized as a national treasure and was honored by King Norodom Sihanouk with the royal title of "Preah Reich Theany Somlang Meas", the "Golden Voice of the Royal Capital".
From her brief relationship with a Khmer Republic parachutist and General Srey Ya, Sothea increasingly became involved in the military. As the Khmer Republic struggled in the civil war, Sothea and Sisamouth and their contemporaries published patriotic songs for the fledgling republic. Her career would continue until the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in April 1975.
Sothea's personality is invariably described as modest and reserved. She is known to have been involved in a few relationships throughout her life. When she arrived in Phnom Penh, she was courted by fellow singer Sos Mat and eventually married. Unfortunately Mat was already legally married to two other wives. As her career moved forward, Sos Mat became insanely jealous of her success and of the men who came to watch her perform. Traumatized by the emotional abuse from the constant envy of his other wives and the domestic violence from Sos Mat, they separated within six months of marriage. With her name ruined as a result of the divorce, her only option was to return to her family in Battambang. It would only be with intervention and help from Sinn Sisamouth that she resumed her career in Phnom Penh.
Despite the high-profile divorce with Sos Mat, Sothea's popularity resurged and she met the son of the famous Van Chan film company as part of her contract recording film songs. Their marriage resulted in a son but for undocumented reasons they separated. She is also noted to have had a relationship with a parachutist of the Khmer Republic. General Srey Ya of Lon Nol's government, who was extremely infatuated with her, ended up holding her against her will in one incident. Sothea's unsteady relationships may have been the inspiration behind her most depressing ballads.
Fall of Phnom Penh
It is believed that Sothea had traveled to Pailin Province for the Buddhist New Year in 1975. Some of her final recordings are those celebrating the New Year in Pailin. Many are skeptical of this claim as it had been increasingly dangerous to travel outside Phnom Penh due to the encirclement of Khmer Rouge forces. When Phnom Penh fell, there were apparently attempts by military personnel to evacuate Sothea out of the country. Like everyone else when the Khmer Rouge took over, she was forced to leave Phnom Penh. There are many speculations regarding her fate from a variety of witnesses.
Sothea was initially able to hide her identity well as she was from the Cambodian countryside and adjusted well, contrary to most of the "New People". The survivors from her camp didn't even know she was amongst them until she secretly confided with them. Eventually she was discovered and was forced by Pol Pot to marry one of his assistants in 1977. As a prolific singer, Sothea was forced to exclusively perform songs for the new regime.
Her new marriage was an unhappy one marred by physical abuses. Eventually the disputes got out of hand and the Khmer Rouge cadre of her village decided she was more trouble alive. She was told that she and her family would be moved to another village and she was last seen by survivors departing by ox cart. She then disappeared under typically mysterious circumstances and is almost certainly dead.
Other accounts believe that she died from being overworked in a Khmer Rouge agricultural camp. Another account even says that she was still alive when the Vietnamese invading forces arrived in Phnom Penh in 1979 but died of malnutrition shortly after in a hospital.
As a high profile individual and a musician, she was a prime candidate for extermination during Pol Pot’s regime. Her two surviving sisters insist that Sothea, along with their mother and children, were taken to Kampong Som province and executed immediately following the Fall of Phnom Penh. Her remains have yet to be discovered.
Complete Wikipedia article
Any thoughts? I know the possibility of her being deceased is really high since we are talking one of the most oppressive regimes in the history of mankind behind her murder. Also she's technically missing as her remains have not been located yet.