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As Touch Seang Tana and Drakkar took to the outdoor stage on that balmy January evening, it was as if they had never been away. The pulsing keyboards and driving guitar floated up into the night sky and the crowd roared their approval, dancing in lockstep, in the Khmer fashion, shimmying and twisting joyfully, without a care in the world.
Cambodia-born Chhom Nimol, singer with the genre-defying Los Angeles–based band Dengue Fever, was also onstage with Drakkar for a couple of numbers. She says it was a profound moment: “I never dreamed I would play with those musicians. They are like my teachers, my masters. They played the music I was listening to when I was growing up, and to be on the stage with them, I felt like I was back in the 1960s with them.”
Pirozzi watched from the sidelines.
“I think it might be something we can easily take for granted, but after learning about how this music came to be, [how it] was close to being destroyed and then resurrected, you can’t help but marvel at the power of it to sustain itself through the people who made it, and those who love it.”
“Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten” is touring film festivals, and should be in general release later in the year.