For almost 25 years, Cambodia and its capital, Phnom Penh were a hub for one of the most vibrant and progressive music scenes in the world. Prolific bands and singers made hundreds of records, fusing rock and roll, folk, psychedelic, Afro–Cuban and traditional Cambodian music into a compelling and vivid new genre.
It all came crashing down in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh. Record collections were burned, clubs were shut down, and the famous faces and voices of Cambodian pop music were silenced — some killed, others vanished.
The documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten looks at the rise and fall of Cambodia’s music scene. It’s open now in Los Angeles, and Off-Ramp producer Kevin Ferguson talked with the film’s director, John Pirozzi.
“Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten” is playing until May 21 at the Laemmle theater in North Hollywood.