At a Glance
- The Like Me’s
- Sunday Feb 27
- FCC Angkor, Siem Reap
- 8 p.m.
- No cover
The Like Me’s are on a mission.
Since 2009, the California-based quartet has been promoting the sounds of Cambodia’s oft forgotten 1960s-era music scene in an attempt to rekindle the Kingdom’s “Golden Era” of music.
And while it’s foreign audiences who are usually most mesmerized, the music, says the band, is aimed squarely at homeland hearts and minds.
“I really want to show Cambodians that we have so much that we have forgotten, and if we were just to remember it through music then we could have a good time while also becoming self-conscious in a way,” band front-woman Laura Mam told National Public Radio in the US.
A recent University of California at Berkley graduate, Mam got together with Monique Coquilla and Helena Hong and formed The Like Me’s in March 2009. Keyboardist Loren Alonso later joined the trio, and the band has worked with different bassists including Ben Everett of Case in Theory and Raymond Bernal of Fake Republic.
Mam and The Like Me’s have sustained a growing international following through press coverage and YouTube videos. Mam’s online anthem to quitting drugs, title “Smoke Weed,” has garnered nearly 100,000 views.
The band performs songs in English, Khmer and French.
The Like Me’s made a tribute to Pan Ron, a Cambodian female singer-songwriter who died during the Khmer Rouge regime, by doing a cover of her song, “Sva Rom Monkiss.”
The band’s desire to revive the pre-war Cambodian music scene stems from concerns over the way the Khmer Rouge destroyed the local music industry, which continued to stagnant for many years afterward.
“It inspires me to want to hold onto something and to know who I am because it feels like everything has been forgotten and left in a shadow,” Mam said in the radio interview in the US. “And I’d like for our generation to bring back the light because often times we grow up not knowing much about ourselves at all.”
The effects that the Khmer Rouge regime had on Cambodia society is an issue that is close to Mam. While Mam’s parents managed to escaped the brutal regime, other family members did not.
Her father lost both of his parents and four of his five brothers. er father never discussed those painful memories, and Mam learned a lot about her family’s past from a book written by Mormon relief workers who helped her family get to the US.
“There are a lot of broken chains that people … they don’t want to necessarily talk about because it was very painful. I’ve been very lucky to know just a little bit of history because most Cambodian kids don’t know much about their parents at all,” Mam told NPR.