Khmer Rouge Survivors

They Will Kill You, If You Cry


In Cambodia, producer Ian Brennan — who is a master at finding forgotten musical stories, from African prisons to the war veterans of Hanoi — has recorded the survivors of the Killing Fields, now battling a national culture of convenient amnesia.

The musical accompaniment ranges from bamboo flute to wobbly blues guitar, the notes warping around the melody.

Kong Nai, the “Cambodian Ray Charles”, is much in evidence; but the highlight is Thuch Savanj’s spare, direct account of his life as a victim of war, accompanied by an instrument that sounds like quacking poultry.

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