Kong Nay – Cambodia’s Best Shot at Crossover Musical Glory?

With Voice of America – Khmer comparing Kong Nay to a Blues Man and his upcoming headlining appearance at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival (as part of a headlining program called Voices of the Mekong), it is possible that Kong Nay could be Cambodia’s next crossover pop icon, perhaps even bigger than the immortal Sin Sisamouth or the sainted Ros Sereisothea.

There’s an uncanny and to my knowledge as-yet-unnoticed similarity between Kong Nay and the Mark McKinney “Blues Guy” sketch he used to do for Kids In The Hall. Check it out for yourself. Here’s an astonishing video of Kong Nay (which unfortunately is too formal to include his normal between-song popular patter). Hint: Go to minute 5.05 at first in order to see a traditional Khmer musical version of rhyme battling (but funny!), and then go back and watch the whole thing after you’re suitably impressed.

Here’s a video of Blues Guy:

You be the judge, but I think ‘delta music’ crossover would be fantastic.
Just remember what dance music did for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and think to yourself:

“Dre Vs. Kong Nay: From Hearts of Darkness”

I’d buy twenty copies of that album. And if you’re in town for the festival, for god’s sakes go! And if you can write here and tell us about it!


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