Arn Chorn-Pond, who survived the Killing Fields of Cambodia, will perform at the Lincoln Center on April 11 along with his beloved music teacher, Master Mek, the man who kept him alive during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. This free event marks the fulfillment of Arn’s dream – to showcase Cambodia for its arts, not for its tragic history.
I will describe the remarkable bond between these to men and to explain the complicated path that led to their reunion long after the war, when they each given the other up for lost.
Arn and Mek will first play one of the propaganda songs that were forced upon them by the Khmer Rouge. Then they will perform a traditional Cambodian song they sang secretly sang to keep each other’s spirits up during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, an act that would have been punishable by death.
They will be followed by a performance by The Waterek Ensemble, a traveling group of musicians who bring live music to isolated parts of Cambodia, including communities of former Khmer Rouge soldiers.
This evening is sure to be an emotional high point in a month-long celebration of Cambodian arts at venues all around New York – BAM, the Joyce Theatre, The Rubin Museum and The Asia Society.
The April 11 event will take place at the David Rubenstein Atrium, a public space inside Lincoln Center on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd streets.