Chapei Dang Veng

Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

Chapei Dang Veng is a Cambodian musical tradition closely associated with the life, customs and beliefs of the Cambodian people. It features the chapei (a type of lute often played at cultural festivals) accompanied by singing. Song lyrics range from the educational and a type of social commentary, to satire while incorporating traditional poems, folk tales or Buddhist stories. The tradition is considered to have multiple functions within Cambodian communities, such as safeguarding traditional rituals; transmitting social, cultural and religious knowledge and values; providing exposure to the old Khmer language; creating a space for social and political commentary; entertaining; connecting generations; and building social cohesion. Apart from musical talent, skills required to be a chapei player include wit, the ability to improvise and be a good storyteller. While performers are generally male, there are no gender restrictions on who can play the chapei. Transmitted orally within families and informal master-apprentice relationships, today the art form is practised by few performers and even fewer masters exist. The Khmer Rouge regime severely affected the bearer population and disrupted transmission of the practice with long-term implications as communities now face the prospect of a tradition that could potentially disappear.
The demonstration of Chapei Dang Veng by Master Kong Nai and Cambodian Living Chapei's artists at Preah Sisowath High School, where about more than 200 students attended.
Students of Cambodian Living Chapei do the experiment by playing Chapei Dang Veng with other instruments
Two artists perform the Chapei in call and response style for about 400 students at the Singing Kites Organization, Takeo province.
Community students play Chapei Dang Veng together with school students, who accompany the songs by reading the written script in the demo production.
The demonstration of Chapei by the grand master Kong Nai organized by the Cambodian Living Arts at the Svay Antor Primary School, Kampot province.
The demonstration of Chapei by the students of Cambodian Living Chapei organized by the Cambodian Living Arts at the Svay Antor Primary School, Kampot province.
The demonstration of Chapei by a student of Cambodian Living Chapei organized by the Cambodian Living Arts at the Svay Antor Primary School, Kampot province.
Chapei performance in call and response style during the National Art Performing Festival of Ayai, Chapei and Ksae Diev, hold on December 3-5, 2014
The master Kong Nai teaches his grandson how to play the Chapeai Dang Veng at his house, Kampot province
Chapei played in the Pleng Areak, a Khmer traditional music ensemble for spiritual medium, during the spiritual entranced ritual asking for villagers' happiness, Siem Reap province.
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