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Artist Info

The Cambodian Space Project

The Cambodian Space ProjectPowered by Audioscrobbler™The Cambodian Space Project is a Cambodian psychedelic rock band.

Kak Channthy (aka Srey Thy) (1980 - 2018), The Cambodian Space Project's lead singer was born into war and poverty. Thy spent the first 10 years of her life moving about the frontlines of conflict (post Pol Pot) with her father, a tank driver, and has never had the opportunity to go to school. She has an enormous repertoire of songs, mostly memorized and improvises many of her vocals.

Thy was at the forefront of a revival of Khmer rock'n'roll, she wrote original and witty lyrics in the style of the Chapei masters such as Kong Nay (also her teacher and recruited to record for Peter Gabriel's Real World label in the 1990's)

The best example of this songwriting style is her story about trying, repeatedly to get visa for herself and the CSP to tour France in 2010 . The track called "Have Visa No Have Rice" tries to explain how even in France it's hard for a Cambodian to eat !

"Before having a visa, I had to go to the French Embassy. Unexpectedly and nervously, I was granted the visa. Comfortably, I could fly to France and discover Paris.
After my arrival, I was a bit sad because I couldn't eat their food. They had bread and pizza while I could eat only rice."

The Cambodian Space Project had a busy 2011 on the back of their debut single released in mid 2010.
In January they toured Australia playing alongside the likes of Grinderman & Phillip Glass. This was followed by a short tour of Southern China in February and then off to Austin's SXSW in March followed by dates in Colorado, Seattle & Portland.
The band then returned to Cambodia for Khmer New Year in April. In September they visited the UK for a short tour and a spot at the End of The Road Festival, from there to Bali for the Ubud Writers Festival and next onto Australia for a Xmas and New Year Tour and to start recording their second album under the tutelage of Bad Seed Mick Harvey.

The CSP is also the first band to release a 45rpm single since 1975 - the year Pol Pot implemented the insane Year Zero policy of the Khmer Rouge and trashed all Cambodian culture while inflicting one of the worst genocides in human history. Like the great Cambodian diva Ros Serey Sothea, Srey Kak Chanthy comes from humble beginnings and moved to Phnom Penh some time ago to find work as a singer. By the time she met Julien Poulson, co-founder of the Cambodian Space Project, she had amassed a great song-book of Cambodian music and was ready to try something new. Poulson had already made several trip to Cambodia before and had dedicated time to making recordings and short films exploring the traditional music of Cambodia as well as the instruments of the Khmer ensemble but like many from the West, had an ear open for Cambodian Rock and was keen to create music that would fit in a space between what once was and what is occurring today. The Cambodian Space Project’s debut single is Knyom Mun Sok Jet Te "I'm Unsatisfied" by Pan Ron. Pan Ron herself was once upon a time, number two in line to the pop music throne and was considered more ‘edgy’ than Ros Sereysothea the Golden Voice of Phnom Penh.

Kak Channthy (1980 – 20 March 2018) was a Cambodian singer and vocalist of the band Cambodian Space Project. She has been described as "the barefoot diva of the Cambodian rice fields". She died in March 2018 at the age of 38 when the auto rickshaw she was travelling in was hit by a car. The driver who caused the collision was charged with negligent driving causing unintentional injury and death.

She formed the Cambodian psychedelic rock band "The Cambodian Space Project" with her Australian husband Julien Poulson and worked as the lead singer and songwriter releasing 5 albums and touring 24 countries around the world. Inspired by Cambodian singers of the 1960s and early 1970s, "Cambodia's golden age", Cambodian Space Project lead an astonishing arts and cultural revival in Cambodian and are one of the few Cambodian rock bands to find success outside of their own country. Channthy collaborated with a range of artists including Dennis Coffey of Motown Funk Bros who she worked with to produce and record her seminal third LP "Whisky Cambodia". She twice recorded duets with iconic Australian poet laureate Paul Kelly on the songs "The Boat" - a song dealing with the issue of asylum seekers and included on 2013's Key of Sea compilation, in 2017 she recorded again with Kelly a re-working of Lee Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra's classic "Summer Wine". Channthy was fond of French chanson and collaborated with Bad Seed Mick Harvey on the Serge Gainsbourg track "Contact", as well as, covering and regularly performing France Gall's classic "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" in her lie set. Kak Channthy and her then husband Julien Poulson were the subject of a BBC Storyville documentary Rise of a Pop Diva, a program also released to cinema as the documentary The Cambodian Space Project. She also had several side-projects including Australian Khmer hip hop group Astronomy Class with whom she recorded and released the album "Mekong Delta Sunrise" and in 2016 she formed all Khmer band "Channthy Cha-Cha" in which she experimented with romantic Khmer ballads from artists such as Sinn Sisamouth and Pan Ron, adding a funk twist.
After her death friends and colleagues established the Kak Channthy Memorial Fund to provide support for her young family and for the education of Channthy's 13-year-old son.
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