List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.
Nine major areas were proposed to address the issue of safeguarding. Although many of the activities listed below were implemented MCFA’s limited human resources has hindered the full execution of our initial program outline, therefore timeline adjustments are necessary to further facilitate implementation of our overall strategic plan.
To fully understand the current situation of Chapei and create a database of Chapei artists, MCFA developed a research questionnaire that includes the following information:
• Biographical background of Chapei artists and their students such as age, gender ,etc.;
• Quantitative observations of performances such as location, income generated, audience size, number of supporters, etc.);
• Types of ceremonies and events;
• Description of repertoire such as content, lyrics, stories, melodies, etc.;
• Level of ability and knowledge of performers such as educational background, skills, etc.);
• Community awareness initiatives such as tracking the number of participants, safeguarding activities, and other promotional and/or advertising campaigns.
Activities and Outputs:
• Up-to-date information tracking Chapei artists:
By reviewing existing data from MCFA’s Chapei inventory forms, lists of performers submitted by CLA and CLC, the number of participants from the Chapei and Khsae Deav festivals, we are able to identify a total of 116 Chapei artists (excluding 8 artists who unfortunately passed away prior to the completion of this report; 4 who are female ) from 18 of Cambodia’s 25 provinces.
• Interviewing selected artists:
The selection of interviewees were based upon the following criteria:
o Women Chapei artists
o Disabled artists
o Those between 40-80 years old
o Members identified as a Living Human Treasure or esteemed artist
o Famous artists or performance winners
o Artists trained by Chapei masters or from their parents Artists who received several years of training
o One or two artists from each province
Out of 116 identified Chapei artists, 53 were selected representing 18 provinces: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampong Speu, Thbong Khmum, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Banteay Meanchey, Battambong, Posat, Takeo, Kampot, Kep, Steung Treng, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Oudor Meanchey, Kampong Chnang, and Kandal. In collaboration with the provincial departments of culture and fine arts, 12 questionnaires were collected
The interviews were documented by using video and still cameras as well as audio recorders. Completed questionnaires have been collected. Our team organized data according to provinces from where artists are. Data are transcribed, consolidated and analyzed. Final documentation and a final reporting of the mapping was prepared.
2. RESEARCH & DOCUMENTATION:
The Cambodian Living Arts’ (CLA)research team carried out its research and reported its findings to MCFA from September 2018 --February 2020. The CLA team was led by musicologist Patrick Kersalé who completed the following:
a. A research compilation:
- The term Chapei and its origin;
- The different names for Chapei;
- Research on the origin of Chapei;
- Manufacturing and organology
- Gender of Chapei players throughout history
b. Video content:
- Kong Nay & Amund Maarud: A New Path for Chapei
- Keo Samnang, A Street Singer: Repertoire Pieces and Translation
- Chapei and the Three-string Lesson: Buddhist Iconography in Cambodia
- Restoration and Colonization of High Definition Pictures of the 19th Century
- Kong Nay, The Master: Repertoire Pieces and Improvisation with English Translations
- Kong Boran, The New Generation: Repertoire Pieces and Improvisation with English Translations- Chapei and the Buddhist iconography outside Cambodia
- Chapei in contemporary Cambodian society
- Making a Chapei
- A documentary film about Chapei
With an aim for wider distribution of the report and the visual documents, an English-Khmer website was launched as a medium to access and view any updated, new information. A YouTube channel dedicated to the Chapei will also be made available soon. Moreover, MCFA in collaboration with CLC, CLA and other relevant stakeholders produced a book entitled, LIVING HERITAGE: The Artists of Cambodian Chapei to celebrate, promote, and safeguard the tradition. This publication is proudly supported by UNESCO, the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre and Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research of Griffith University, MCFA, and CLA.
3. BROADCAST AND MEDIA OUTREACH:
At the outset, MCFA Chapei Project team invited the Cambodian Broadcasting Service (CBS) to discuss production of a new, high-quality Chapei performance. MCFA also asked CLC to assist in organizing Chapei masters and community leaders to participate in the program from November 2018 to March 2019. The meeting was held to further discuss some key points:
- The development of a short broadcasting program
- The best way to deliver Chapei to a larger audience
- Incorporating the opinions of Chapei mastersinto a well-defined plan
- How to evaluate the impact of the program
Unfortunately, the discussion did not lead to any media programming and MCFA had to hire Mr. Pok Borak as a contractor to carry out its plan in February 2020. Mr. Pok and his team produced the desired content and were responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Chapei broadcasting program. In collaboration with Chapei artists affiliated with MCFA’s performing arts department and the Royal University of Fine Arts, Mr. Pok created two Chapei theatrical performance pieces. The two new productions, Sovanna Sam and Soben Koma, are based onBuddhist stories, and their live performances accompanied by the Chapei musicians’ narration are testimonies that this art form truly is a living heritage. These shows were recorded live, online, via MCFA’s Facebook page, and saw a viewership of about half a million (500,000).
4. EDUCATION & TRAINING:
The activities outlined have been delayed and rescheduled. We would like to propose a new Education and Training schedule beginning inApril 2021. Upon review of our mapping project, what we realized that the Chapei winners who placed first, second, and third in our Chapei competitions could serve as potential trainers. MCFA interviewed and selected some of those winners to participate in a week-long workshop led by Grand Master Kong Nay in Phnom Penh. Upon returning to their respective hometowns, these newly trained participants visited their neighborhood schools and made efforts to engage with the students by promoting the Chapei musical tradition.
In the near future, MCFA and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) hope to recruit some of these apprentices as part time and full time staff members under the Education for Culture and Culture for Education project. Also, Chapei instruments will be provided, thus alleviating some of the financial burdens associated with Chapei musical training.
5. SECONDARY SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS (STATE SCHOOL):
Under the patronage of MCFA, the Secondary School of Fine Arts, has in place a curriculum which includes a formal and obligatory education in Chapei
6. CHAPEI FESTIVAL:
Three Chapei festivals were planned in different Cambodian provinces.
The first was organized by CLA’s Heritage Hub team in Siem Reap from 30 November-2 December 2018 at the Heritage Hub office located in Wat Bo Pagoda. The festival hosted 25 Chapei masters and students, two local groups of public school students, 15 volunteers, local art communities including Sounds of Angkor, Wat Bo Puppet Troupe, TukTukTV, Phare Social Enterprise, Bamboo Stage, Silong Original, Small Art School and the American Corner.
- The second event took place in Phnom Penh and was organized by the Cambodian Living Chapei under the patronage of CLA. The three-day event from 28-30November 2019 brought together Chapei masters, students, university students, as well as the general public with a total count of over 2000people.
- The last event was initially aimed to be organized in Kandal province at Wat Svay Andet, however,due to the Covid-19 pandemic public gatherings were restricted, so organizers decided to record the performance and broadcast it online. This first-ever online Chapei festival garnered tremendous support from the public and was considered a success
7. INSTRUMENT COST
The high cost of Chapei instruments hindered students from studying Chapei and also made it difficult for art schools to maintain Chapei classes. Fortunately, UNESCO’s grant helped to offset the cost of purchasing Chapei instruments, which in turn greatly assisted artists to reduce their financial burden. Based on our survey conducted in 2018, we found only two Chapei manufacturers in Phnom Penh–Long Borarith's Chapei Shop and Chum Prasoeur's Chapei Shop. These are the only remaining shops today that produce quality Chapeis at reasonable prices. The distribution of Chapei instruments to public schools was also part of our project, and MCFA invited Chapei masters and other artists for consultation prior to making any final purchases. Based on these feedback, MCFA purchased 10 Chapeis in its inaugural year: 4 were allocated for the Secondary School of Fine Arts, 1 for Chhouk Va High School, 2 for Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children, and 3 for CLC.
8. CHAPEI LAUREATE
Although initially conceptualized and planned as an annual Chapei competition, MCFA’s Chapei team has not yet developed a concrete plan, although we wish provide ranks and honorariums for winners of previous competitions, and help provide further training at or near their respective village schools. This initiative will be contingent upon the country’s Covid-19situation.
9. MONITORING and EVALUATION:
With kind assistance from UNESCO’s Phnom Penh Office, we were able to identify Mr. Rahul GOSWAMI as an international evaluator for our Chapei Project as stated in Activity 9 “Monitoring and Evaluation.” A TOR was prepared for Mr. GOSWAMI, and the contract was signed in early April 2020.