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UNESCO bid to save dying music style

Kong Nai plays chapei, an instrument used in the Arak ensemble

Kong Nai plays chapei, an instrument used in the Arak ensemble. Photo: Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia plans to seek UNESCO cultural world heritage status for the traditional music known as Khmer Arak, an art form they believe is in danger of disappearing.

Arak originates from animist spiritual beliefs. The music is a ritual form that was thought to drive out illnesses. But as the country adapts to modern medicine, Arak is in danger of dying out, and few young Cambodians know about it.

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