What We've Been Doing Recently
As you all know the Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children (KCDI) is helping over 400 local primary and lower-secondary school children with free training in the arts.
Because of your precious help over the last 12 months, we have been able to reach out and assist children from the following schools:-
- Samdach Ta Primary School
- Tray Koh Primary School
- Di Pok Mohasamaki Lower Secondary School
We of course teach Pin Peat and Mahori music, classical Ballet and Folk Dance, but we also teach ancient Yike theatre.
What is Yike?
The Yike (pronounced Yeekay) is an ancient art form with Khmer, Chham and possibly Malay influences. In a part of what is now modern day Cambodia, there lay the Kingdom of Champa, with a population (the Chham) who were of Muslim religion. Around eight hundred years ago, the Khmer Empire fought with the Kingdom of Champa and this small Kingdom became part of the Khmer empire. Today Chham people and Khmer live together in peace and harmony.
In the Province of Kampot, there are many Chham people who are part of an ethnic minority in Cambodia. Although today the Yike is mostly performed by Khmer artists of Buddhist religion. It is an art form that incorporates singing, music, dance and theatre, yet it is unlike any other traditional Cambodian music or dance, because the singing is different, the dance moves are different and special drums are used similar to those used in the music of the Chham people today. The Yike evolved as an art form for people from the countryside and it expresses historical events, moral and religious tales and sometimes humourous representations. Yet this extraordinary art form after the Khmer Rouge genocide and the decline in traditional culture, risks extinction. That it is why it is so important that young children have access to proper, expert training so that they can continue their cultural heritage on into the future.
One of the most famous Yike troupes is based in Chhouk District in Kampot, they have won many national awards and accolades. It is the leaders of this troupe, a husband and wife team, who teach the Yike at our school. We are so honoured to have them. You can see in our photographs with this report, how many children are enthusiastic to learn Yike. From such a large number, certainly there will be those who will form a profession as Yike artists.
Our residential children (see www.globalgiving.org/residential-care-for-vulnerable-children-cambodia) recently won another trophy, also pictured with this report. This time they won third prize in a National Competition held at the National Chaktomouk Theatre. The competition was larger than the last regional one. Their dance was specially coreographed for them by a folk dance teacher from the Kampot department of Culture and our school was invited by the Ministry of Culture to perform in the competition.
Thank you for your wonderful help in helping keeping alive these unique traditions at our school. Please tell all your friends and please encourage everyone to give generously. We need special help to support our teachers to train so many children. Please help support our residential program too!
Thank you from our hearts!
What's been happening?
Three months on from our last update, our Community Outreach Arts Program at KCDI has now more than four hundred primary school children participating in lessons on Pin Peat and Mahori music, classical Cambodian dance and folk dance and also Yike theatre.
Our classes continue to be held three times a week, but lessons have multiplied, because of the demand.
We are working in close cooperation with the Departments of Culture and Education, as well as heads of local primary schools, they are assisting us as we coordinate diffierent students from different schools. They have asked us to help them by reaching out to as many children as possible to share Cambodian performing arts, because there is growing concern about the loss of Cambodia's cultural heritage.
Many children attending KCDI are very poor and would otherwise have had no access to this kind of experience or opportunity. Thank you for your help!
Meanwhile the more experienced students on our Boarding Program were invited by the Department of Culture together with their teachers to perform at the Regional Performances in Sihanoukville from the 25 - 28th November 2013. They performed the "Kiri Bokor sambo tomchet dance", especially coreographed by KCDI dance teachers. They were awarded a trophy at the end of the performance.
After the performance Sreida* said "I am very pleased and grateful to my group for all the hard work they did to achieve this goal".
Community Art Outreach students did their first public performance at KCDI and now both they and resident children on the KCDI Boarding Program, will be preparing for examinations for the coming year, held by the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. These exams help provide them with goals to achieve and for those wanting to have a future in the performing arts, the yearly exams and the final Diploma and Baccalaureate are essential qualifications for a career.
What can you do?
Please keep supporting us. Your help has been so important so far. Tell everyone you know about us and share our work on your social networks, (face-book, twitter e-mail). Please spread the word that it is easy to give a simple donation on-line through our page on Global Giving.
From everyone here at KCDI, we send you our profound thanks and wish you all a most Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year 2014!
* For the sake of Privacy, we do not mention the student's real name. All photographs are printed here with permission given by the students and teachers of KCDI.
The Khmer Cultural Development Institute Arts Outreach Program has continued over the past three months. We’ve recruited a new classical dance teacher, as the previous teacher retired, ensuring the classical dance program has a high level, experience instructor.
Classes have been held three times a week in the following art forms:
The Pchum Ben festival season is in full swing and the school will be closed for one week to give staff and students a chance to celebrate with their families. Pchum Ben is the time of the year when Cambodians pay respect to their ancestors. Monks chant throughout the night and families visit the pagodas to make offerings.
From one of our students:
Channika* has been training with KCDI for eight years. She has studied Classical and Folk Dances as well as music (Pin Peat). The school director says she is good at playing the Ronead Ek instrument and is very talented at Classical Dance. Channika says:
“KCDI is not only important for me but also for those who have less access or no access to education and art training. If there was no KCDI, the poor children have no access to arts and also higher education. I would stop my studies if KCDI did not support me here and I wish to be a Classical Dance trainer in the future.”
Channika is now 18 and hopes that if KCDI’s Arts Outreach Program continues, she will be able to return to the school as a teacher.
*Students’ names are changed to protect their privacy
Classes will start up again after the Pchum Ben holiday on October 7th. Students will continue preparing for their first performance in November. New students in the Outreach Program have now been attending classes for 3 months and are slowly but surely expanding their repertoire, learning more music, more dances and linking to their cultural heritage in ways they have never had the opportunity to do before.
What can you do?
We still need to raise further funds in order to be able to continue the Outreach Program. Please spread the word about our school and programs through your networks, on Facebook, by email, Twitter and so on. Tell your friends and family they can support us on GlobalGiving with a simple online donation.
From all the students and staff at KCDI, a big thank you for your support!
The Khmer Cultural Development Institute Arts Outreach Program started in May thanks to the generous support of our donors on GlobalGiving. Classes are now in full swing after an audition process that involved hundreds of children from local schools. More students have been enrolled than originally thought would be, and the teachers and masters at the school are excited to be passing on their skills and knowledge to so many new students.
Older students who have been training at KCDI for many years, are continuing their classes and expanding their repertoire. They continue to put on monthly performances for the public and tourist groups. As well, they are role models for the new generation of students, providing them a glimpse of the future performers they will become.
Classes will continue through the public school holidays from July to September. Students will start preparing for their first performance in November. They will gain important skills in performing and building their confidencem preparing them for a future as performance artists. KDCI organizes monthly performances for the public, giving the community an opportunity to view live Khmer traditional arts, an opportunity not available anywhere else in the area. \
We still need to raise further funds in order to be able to continue the Outreach Program. Please spread the word about our school and programs through your networks, Facebooks, by email, Twitter and so on. Tell your friends and family they can support us on GlobalGiving with a simple online donation.
From all the students and staff at KCDI, a big thank you for your support!
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