Ho Chhim Chan

Cambodian pin peat

In Cambodian culture, a complicated and classical form of music named pin peat accompanies classical dance, masked dance, shadow plays, and Buddhist ceremonies.  In the aftermath of the war that engulfed Cambodia in the 1970s, these arts have become key elements in helping survivors to find beauty and identity and to cope with their struggles, especially in this country.  Ho Chhim Chan, who began his musical career playing the kong thom (gong) in his village in Cambodia, is the only master of the sralai, a quadruple-reed oboe, living in California, and he is an expert on several other instruments essential to pin peat.

In 2002, Ho was a master artist in ACTA's Apprenticeship Program with apprentice Sokheartha Chimm.  Their apprenticeship focused on improving Sokheartha's skills so that they might continue to play pin peat together to accompany classical Cambodian dance and other performance arts essential to the Cambodian communities of California.


Click on any image to view slideshow.

Ho Chhim Chan's 2002 apprentice Sokheartha Chhim on the roneat ek (Photo courtesy of Ho Chhim Chan)
Master musician Ho Chhim Chan (left) and his 2002 apprentice Sokheartha Chhim (front) (Photo courtesy of Ho Chhim Chan)
The pin peat ensemble practicing at home (Photo courtesy of Ho Chhim Chan)
The underside of a brass gong of the pin peat ensemble's large gong circle (Photo courtesy of Ho Chhim Chan)
The underside of the keys of the roneat ek, a xylophone in the pin peat ensemble (Photo courtesy of Ho Chhim Chan)

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